Here in the Washington legal community, the rumors are growing stronger that Justice Stevens will soon announce his retirement. The front-runner appears to be Elana Kagan, former Dean of Harvard Law School and currently the Solicitor General of the United States.
Kagan’s advantages, as compared to judges like Diane Wood, are said to be her youth (she’s 49) and the absence of a paper trail of judicial opinions. Kagan has, however, written law review articles, most notably in the areas of administrative law and the First Amendment. If they are not being read now, they may soon be.
But Jan Crawford thinks that President Obama’s turn towards court-bashing populism might induce him to select Judge Wood:
To continue his populist narrative and really make something of it–that the Court is out of touch, in the pocket of big business–Mr. Obama needs someone with a more common touch. Someone from the Midwest, someone who attended a state school and state law school, someone who has known the struggles–a working mom, for example. That’s someone like Judge Diane Wood. Not Elena Kagan.
Wood has been a Washington DC lawyer, a law professor, and for the past 15 years a federal appeals court judge. I’d say she’s a poor excuse for a populist. But then so is President Obama.