On his Atlantic Correspondents blog, James Warren asks two University of Chicago law profs--where Obama used to lecture--what they think will factor into the president's Supreme Court decision. Both say his pick will be more center-left than traditional-liberal:
Prof. Gerald Strauss says:
"...Along the same lines, I think the President (I can't bring myself to call him Barack any more) really is not an old-fashioned, civil-rights-era liberal. When he presented himself during the campaign as having transcended that era, that wasn't just for show--it's really him. Part of that is: he did not grow up thinking of the federal courts as the great hope of progressives. His background is not in, for example, public interest litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It's in community organizing and, of course, politics, and he thinks of the political process, not the judicial process, as the main way to accomplish his goals. So again he won't think of this as an agenda appointment, not in the substantive sense. He will see it as a chance to set a new tone in judicial appointments, or make the Court more inclusive--something like that. As for which of those things he'll try to do--I have no idea."
Prof Geoffrey Stone says:
"Moderate liberal," says Stone. "Certainly, Obama will want his nominee at the very least to be as liberal as Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg and Stevens. He will not want to make an error on this, and therefore he will appoint someone whose record is well established. He will not want to appoint a justice who later turns out to be conservative," a reverse Souter.