Orrin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy links to a New York Times piece that speculates about the administration’s thinking with respect to picking a new Supreme Court Justice. The Times believes that the inside track belongs to J. Harvie Wilkinson and Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and to two recently confirmed judges, Michael McConnell (Tenth Circuit) and John Roberts (D.C. Circuit). Kerr believes that all four are excellent candidates, but he puts Roberts at the top of his list.
We have mentioned Wilkinson, Luttig, and McConnell in the past. As Kerr says, Wilkinson is reliably conservative and fits the model of a Chief Justice. Luttig has a harder idelogical edge, more in the Scalia than the Rehnquist mold. McConnell is a briliant legal scholar. His conservative credentials are strong, but I can’t help wonder whether, as a former academic, he would be less predictably conservative than the others.
Roberts is the least well known to me because he comes from private practice. But this is no Souter stealth candidate. The more I talk to people who know Roberts well, and the more I learn about his opinions on the D.C. Circuit, the easier it is for me to understand why Kerr rates him so highly.
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