Possible candidates

Supreme Court Nomination

October 28, 2005

Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Age: 55

School: Yale Law School

Was: Deputy assistant attorney general under President Ronald Reagan; U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey; clerk for Judge Leonard Garth.

Is: Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

Alito is regarded as intellectually admirable, predictably conservative and polite on the bench. He has earned solid conservative stripes, despite working on what is considered one of the most liberal circuits in the country.

As an appellate judge, he was the lone dissenter in rulings that overturned a Pennsylvania law requiring that a husband be notified before his wife gets an abortion and one rejecting a higher burden of proof for plaintiffs in sex discrimination suits.

Alice M. Batchelder

Age: 61

School: Akron University School of Law

Was: U.S. bankruptcy judge and federal district judge in Ohio; 12 years in private practice.

Is: Judge on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Batchelder is a former high school English teacher. When women were scarce in the legal profession, she earned top honors and served as editor in chief of the law review. She was appointed to the federal appellate bench in 1991 by the first President George Bush.

Reliably conservative, she is regarded as an astute and fair-minded intellectual who recoils at any sign of judicial activism.

Alberto R. Gonzales

Age: 49

School: Harvard Law School

Was: General counsel to George Bush when he was governor of Texas; lawyer at Vinson & Elkins; justice of the Supreme Court of Texas; White House counsel.

Is: Attorney general.

Gonzales, born in San Antonio, was the second of eight children of migrant workers. A Bush confidant since his days as governor, he followed him to Washington in 2001 as counsel to the president.

Opponents of his appointment as attorney general focused on memos he prepared or approved that justified the use of controversial interrogation tactics for suspected terrorists. Conservatives fear that he might favor abortion rights.

Edith Hollan Jones

Age: 56

School: University of Texas School of Law

Was: Attorney for 11 years at the Houston law firm Andrews, Kurth, Campbell & Jones.

Is: Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Jones emerged as a candidate early in President Bush's first term. She was the first female partner at the Houston law firm, active in Republican politics and a recognized expert on bankruptcy law. She has been widely viewed as too conservative to survive a grueling confirmation battle.

As an appellate judge, she wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that a dismissal of a sex harassment case should be upheld because the harassment was at the hands of co-workers, not a supervisor. Her writings in a 2004 case called into question some of the central findings of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade.

Michael J. Luttig

Age: 51

School: University of Virginia School of Law

Was: White House assistant counsel for Reagan; Justice Department lawyer in the administration of Bush's father; clerk for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and then-Judge Antonin Scalia.

Is: Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

Luttig is well connected at the Supreme Court. When the man who killed his father during a 1994 carjacking in Texas went before the court in 2001, Justices Scalia, Clarence Thomas and David H. Souter recused themselves. The killer's appeal was denied, and he was executed.

Though considered a conservative thinker, Luttig's intellectual rigor often leads him away from doctrinaire positions. . He dissented to an opinion that gave a Prince George's County police officer immunity from a civil rights lawsuit, writing that the officer should not need a court opinion to know that handcuffing a suspect to a light pole in a deserted shopping center "for no law enforcement purpose at all" is unconstitutional.

Maureen E. Mahoney

Age: 50

School: University of Chicago Law School

Was: Deputy solicitor general under Ken Starr; clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist; nominated to federal bench, but Senate failed to act.

Is: Partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Latham & Watkins.

Mahoney is regarded as a brilliant litigator, a devotee of the rule of law and has argued more than a dozen complex constitutional matters before the court.

She represented the University of Michigan in a 2003 Supreme Court case that upheld the school's right to consider race as a basis for admissions.

Michael W. McConnell

Age: 50

School: University of Chicago Law School

Was: Law professor; appellate attorney for Mayer, Brown & Platt; assistant to the U.S. solicitor general 1983-1985; assistant general counsel in the Office of Management and Budget 1981-1983; clerk for Judge Skelly Wright and Justice William J. Brennan Jr.

Is: Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

McConnell worked in the Reagan administration and taught at the University of Chicago Law School, the think tank of conservative legal scholarship.

McConnell has been fervent in his opposition to Roe, which he once called "an embarrassment to those who take constitutional law seriously," but also criticized the high court in Bush v. Gore.

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