WASHINGTON (AP) _ Court watchers think President Barack Obama will choose a woman for his first nomination to the Supreme Court, where only one of nine seats is held by a female _ Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
With Justice David Souter expected to retire this year, here are some of the people who are likely to get some consideration from the White House:
_ Ruben Castillo of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Born in 1954 in Chicago. Nominated by President Bill Clinton for the U.S. District Court in 1994. Received law degree from Northwestern University in 1979. Worked as a lawyer in private practice in Chicago 1979-1984 and 1991-1994. Worked as assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago from 1984-1988. Worked as regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund 1988-1991. Serves as commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
_ Merrick B. Garland of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Born in Chicago in 1952. Nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997 by President Bill Clinton. Received law degree from Harvard University in 1977. Clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan 1978-1979. Worked as special assistant U.S. attorney general, 1979-1981. Worked in private practice in Washington, D.C., 1981-1989 and 1992-1993. Worked as assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia 1989-1992. Worked as deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's criminal division, 1993-1994. Worked as principal associate deputy U.S. attorney general, 1994-1997.
_ Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Born in 1959 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Received law degree from Harvard University in 1987. Worked as a full-time aide, Michigan campaign for presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, 1988. Worked as executive assistant for criminal justice issues in the Wayne County executive office, 1988-89. Worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit, 1990-1995. Worked as Wayne County, Mich., corporation counsel, 1995-1998. Worked as Michigan attorney general, 1999-2002. Became Michigan governor, January 2003.
_ Elena Kagan, U.S. solicitor general.
Born in 1960 in New York City. Nominated for Solicitor General by President Barack Obama. Received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1986. Worked as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1987-1988. Worked in private practice in Washington, D.C. from 1989-1991 and as professor at University of Chicago law school from 1991-1995. Associate counsel to President Bill Clinton 1995-1996, deputy assistant to Clinton for domestic policy and deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council from 1997-1999. Nominated to the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1999 but never received a hearing from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Professor at Harvard Law School since 1999, and dean of the Harvard Law School since 2003.
_ Pamela S. Karlan, law professor at Stanford University
Born in 1959. Received law degree from Yale University in 1984. Worked as clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun, 1985-1986. Worked as assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1986-1988. Worked as law professor at University of Virginia from 1988-1998. Works as law professor at Stanford University and co-founded the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.
_ Harold Hongju Koh, dean of the Yale University Law School
Born in Boston in 1954. Nominated to be legal adviser to the State Department. Received law degree from Harvard University. Served as law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun 1981-1982. Private practice in Washington, D.C. 1982-83. Worked in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department 1983-1985. Worked as law professor at Yale University 1985-1998, 2001-2004. Worked as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human right and labor, 1998-2001. Became Yale law school dean in 2001-present.
_ Sandra Lea Lynch, chief judge of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Born in 1946 in Oak Park, Ill. Nominated to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton on January 11, 1995, and confirmed by the Senate on March 17, 1995. Became chief judge in 2008. Received law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1971. Became an assistant state attorney general in Massachusetts and taught at Boston University Law School from 1973-1974. Worked as lawyer for the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1974-1978. Went into private practice in Boston from 1978-1995, while also serving as special counsel for the state Judicial Conduct Commission from 1990-1992.
_ M. Margaret McKeown of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Born in 1951 in Casper, Wyo. Confirmed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. Received law degree from Georgetown University in 1975. Worked in private practice in Seattle from 1975-1998. Worked as a White House fellow and special assistant to the secretary of the Interior Department from 1980-1981.
_ Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Born in 1956 in Chicago. Received law degree from Harvard University in 1982. Worked as lawyer for NAACP Legal Defense Fund, 1983 to 1986. Worked in private practice, 1986 to 1994 and in 1997. Worked as assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice Department, 1994. Worked as chairman of Texaco Inc.'s Equality and Fairness Task Force, 1997. Worked as vice president and general counsel for Texaco Inc., 1999. Worked as executive vice president and general counsel for The Coca-Cola Co., 2001 to 2004. Became Massachusetts governor, 2006.
_ Johnnie B. Rawlinson of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Born in 1952 in Concord, N.C. Nominated by President Bill Clinton for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Nominated for the U.S. District Court by President Clinton in 1998. Received a law degree from University of the Pacific in 1979. Worked in private practice in Las Vegas 1979-1980 and as a staff attorney for Nevada Legal Services in 1980. Worked for the Office of the District Attorney, Clark County, Nev. from 1980-1998 serving as deputy district attorney, chief deputy district attorney and assistant district attorney.
_ Leah Ward Sears, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.
Born in 1955 in Heidelberg, Germany. Appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in February 1992 by Georgia Gov. Zell Miller. Became chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court in June 2005. Has announced plans to retire from the Georgia Supreme Court in June 2009. Graduated from Emory University School of Law in 1980 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995 with a master's of law degree. Worked in private practice in Atlanta from 1980-1985. Became a judge in Atlanta's city traffic court in 1985, and was a state Superior Court judge from 1988-1992.
_ Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Born in 1954 in the Bronx, N.Y. Nominated as a federal judge by President George H.W. Bush on November 27, 1991, and confirmed by the Senate on August 11, 1992. Nominated by President Bill Clinton to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 25, 1997, and confirmed by the Senate on October 2, 1998. Graduated from Yale Law School in 1979, and worked in private practice as a lawyer in New York City from 1984-1992 before joining the New York County District Attorney's Office, where she served as assistant district attorney from 1979-1984. She then returned to private practice in New York City from 1984-1992.
_ Kathleen Sullivan, former dean of Stanford Law School.
Born in 1955 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Received law degree from Harvard University in 1981. Worked as law professor at Harvard University from 1984-1993. Worked as law professor at Stanford University from 1993-1999. Served as dean of Stanford law school from 1999-2004. Works as law professor at Stanford University.
_ Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago law professor.
Born in 1954. Received law degree from Harvard University in 1978. Clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall 1979-1980. Worked in Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department 1980-1981. Worked as law professor at the University of Chicago from 1981-2008. Nominated by President Barack Obama recently to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
_ Kim McLane Wardlaw of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Born in 1954 in San Francisco. Nominated as a federal judge by President Bill Clinton on August 10, 1995, and confirmed by the Senate on December 22, 1995. Nominated to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Clinton on January 27, 1998, and confirmed by the Senate on July 31, 1998. Graduated from UCLA Law School in 1979 and worked in private practice as a lawyer in Los Angeles from 1980-1995. Worked for President Clinton's Justice Department transition team from 1992-1993 and for Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's mayoral transition committee in 1993.
Diane Pamela Wood of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
_ Born in 1950 in Plainfield, N.J. Nominated to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton on March 31, 1995, and confirmed by the Senate on June 30, 1995. Received a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1975. Clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun from 1976-1977. Worked as a lawyer adviser in the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser from 1977-1978. Worked in private practice in Washington, D.C. from 1978-1980 before teaching at Georgetown University from 1980-1981. Worked as a professor at the University of Chicago from 1981-1995, where she also served as associate dean from 1989-1992. Worked at the Justice Department as special assistant to the associate attorney general from 1985-1987, and as the Antitrust Division's deputy assistant attorney general for international, appellate and policy matters from 1993-1995.
Pictured above is Leah Ward Sears.