By Bill Mears –
Washington (CNN) — Here is an unofficial list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court if President Barack Obama is reelected. This list was compiled from a number of legal and political sources, including government officials deeply involved in the selections of Justices Sonia Sotomayor (2009) and Elena Kagan (2010).
The Obama administration, like those before, keeps an informal list of possible high court nominees to consider in the event of a sudden vacancy. But serious vetting only begins when such a vacancy occurs or is announced in advance by the retiring justice.
Election raises stakes for possible high court vacancies
Kamala Harris, California attorney general
Born 1964. She was elected to her current job in 2010. She is part African-American, part Asian-American. Her father is a Jamaican-born Stanford University economics professor and her mother is an Indian-born (native Tamil) physician who works as a breast cancer specialist. Harris is a former San Francisco district attorney and author of “Smart on Crime.” Her political savvy, ethnic background, telegenic personality, law enforcement credentials, and early support of President Obama’s 2008 candidacy make her a favorite for any high court vacancy in any second-term, and possibly for U.S. Attorney General. Complications: Harris may seek re-election in 2014 and then may run for governor the following year.
Judge Paul Watford, 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, San Francisco
Born 1967. His age and race (African-American) have made him a favorite among some liberal court watchers. Named to the appeals court in 2012. Clerked for conservative Judge Alex Kozinski on the 9th Circuit, and later for liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A former federal prosecutor and law firm partner. Supporters call him an ideological moderate, which may not sit well with progressives seeking a stronger left-leaning voice.