Supreme Court Choices You Haven't Heard Of

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The political classes are getting itchy this weekend in anticipation of a Supreme Court nomination from President Obama this week or next. White House officials are gleefully telling reporters the president's list includes people who are not often mentioned in the media, so what are some of the names that have gotten little or no attention?

Without a full-scale vet, let's make our list, in alphabetical order — with the understanding that there are yet more names we haven't included:

Christine Arguello: Mexican-American, a Harvard law grad, the daughter of a railroad worker. She was the first in her family to go to college. A lawyer, professor and Colorado's chief deputy attorney general, she was nominated by President Clinton to a federal appeals court, but too late to win confirmation. Last year, promoted by Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, she was appointed a federal trial judge by President Bush.

Reuben Castillo: Also Mexican-American; a federal trial judge with 15 years of experience. Fun fact: Obama argued before him as a young lawyer.

Nora Demleitner: Dean of Hofstra Law School and a sentencing expert. A former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, she testified as a Democrat in support of his nomination.

Temple Law School Dean JoAnne Epps: African-American. She has won plaudits as a scholar after serving many years as a prosecutor in the state and federal courts. A major sports fan, she is Temple's faculty representative to the NCAA.

Caitlin Halligan: Former solicitor general of New York, she has argued or filed briefs in more than 40 Supreme Court cases. She now heads the appellate practice at a major law firm and teaches at Columbia Law School.

Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson: African-American. Like the president, Johnson is a former community organizer who teaches law part time.

Johnnie Rawlinson: African-American; a Clinton-appointed judge on the federal appeals court for the far west. She previously served as the chief deputy district attorney in Las Vegas and as a federal trial judge.

North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson: African-American; a former district attorney and legal services lawyer with more than two decades of experience as a state trial and appellate judge.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from