Who else was in contention for the Supreme Court nomination?

President Obama has selected Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court seat. Garland's name has been mentioned for the nation's highest court since the late 1990s and he is considered to be one of the most qualified candidates for the job.

Here's a rundown of who else was mentioned in the run-up to Obama's selection:


Sri Srinivasan, 49 | Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Background: Born in India. Clerked for Republican former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Confirmed unanimously less than three years ago. Had extensive experience as a corporate litigator and deputy solicitor general before going onto the bench. Has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Has strong bipartisan appeal, but given the Republican opposition to any nominee this year, Democrats might prefer to hold him in reserve for a future vacancy. Many liberals regard him as too conservative and business-oriented.


Paul J. Watford, 48 | Judge, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

(Bill Clark/Getty Images)

Background: A law clerk to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and before that to Judge Alex Kozinski, one of the best known conservatives on the 9th Circuit. He worked as an appellate lawyer in a major Los Angeles firm and as a federal prosecutor before appointment to the bench. Watford was confirmed 61-34 in 2012.

Advantages/Disadvantages: A well regarded, young African American judge, he could be difficult for Republicans to oppose. Some liberal activists consider him too moderate. When nominated before, he drew GOP opposition for cases he had worked on involving the death penalty and immigrant rights.



Jane Kelly, 52 | Judge, U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

(Paul Duginski/Los Angeles Times)

Background: A former public defender, she’s earned praise from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Graduated from Harvard Law School in the same class as Obama. Confirmed to the Court of Appeals 96-0 in 2013.

Advantages/Disadvantages: A well regarded female appellate judge, recently confirmed by the Senate, she could be difficult for Republicans to oppose.

Patricia Millett, 52 | Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit

(Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

Background: Obama nominated Millett in 2013. She had experience in the U.S. solicitor general’s office, and has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court.

Advantages/Disadvantages: A favorite in Democratic legal circles, Millett overcame a filibuster to win confirmation. Some Republican senators continue to be angry about the parliamentary tactics the Democrats used to win that fight, which might make her nomination a point of controversy.

Jeh Johnson, 58 | Secretary of Homeland Security

(Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

Background: Was Pentagon general counsel and a federal prosecutor before taking the helm of the Homeland Security Department. He's been involved in many of the government's most complex national security and counter-terrorism issues as well as immigration policy.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Well regarded African American lawyer with strong government experience. Confirmation fight would distract from his current job, and many Republicans strongly disapprove of Obama's executive actions on immigration, which Johnson has been involved in shaping.

Adalberto Jordan, 54, Judge, U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

(Paul Duginski/Los Angeles Times)

Background: Born in Cuba, he came to the U.S. at age 7. He graduated from the University of Miami Law School and was a clerk for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. After a decade of work in a large law firm and as a federal prosecutor, he was named to the U.S. District Court in Miami by President Clinton in 1999, then to the appeals court by Obama in 2012.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Well regarded as a judge, and his background as a Latino from Florida could be politically attractive. But Obama may want to name a woman or an African American to the high court.

Amy Klobuchar, 55 | U.S. senator from Minnesota

(Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Background: Klobuchar, in her second Senate term, is a former prosecutor and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Regarded as a rising star in her party. No member of the Senate has been appointed to the court for decades.

(Molly Riley/Associated Press)

Loretta Lynch, 56 | U.S. attorney general

Background: Received relatively well by both parties. Before becoming U.S. attorney general, she was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, based in Brooklyn -- the top federal prosecutor for one of the country's busiest judicial districts and handled several high-profile cases.

Advantages/Disadvantages: As a former prosecutor, she has a tough-on-crime image, but any administration official could be opposed by Republicans on the grounds of cronyism, and the confirmation process could become a forum to debate other administration policies.

Jacqueline Nguyen, 51 | Judge, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

(Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times)

Background: Born in Vietnam, she came to the U.S. as a refugee at age 10. Her parents owned a doughnut shop in Glendale where she worked in high school. A graduate of Occidental College and UCLA Law School, she worked as a federal prosecutor and L.A. County Superior Court judge before Obama made her a federal District Court judge in 2009. She was elevated to the appeals court in 2013, confirmed 91-3.

Advantages/Disadvantages: In addition to her compelling life story, Nguyen would be the first Asian American on the high court. Her record as an appeals court judge, however, is relatively sparse, with few major cases. One decision, in which she sided with a police officer who shot a bystander with a taser, has drawn criticism from liberals.

Robert Wilkins, 53 | Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit

(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

Background: Chemical engineer by training, was a public defender before appointment. Known for his involvement in civil rights issues. Won a major case against the Maryland State Police over traffic stops aimed at black drivers.

Advantages/Disadvantages: His involvement in civil rights litigation earlier in his career is potentially attractive to liberal Democrats. He's less well known than some of his colleagues on the high-profile D.C. Circuit.


David Barron, 48 | Judge, U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Background: A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, he was a professor there when President Obama appointed him to the bench. In Obama's first term, he headed the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, where he was the main author of a controversial memo authorizing the use of a drone strike to kill Anwar Awlaki.

Advantages/Disadvantages: His memo on the Awlaki drone strike led to some liberal groups opposing his nomination to the appeals court, and Obama may not want to revive that controversy.

Kamala Harris, 51 | California attorney general

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Background: Elected in 2010, Harris, the former San Francisco district attorney, is a rising Democratic star. She’s running for the Senate to succeed Barbara Boxer.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Would have to give up Senate race; says “I do not wish to be considered.”

Pamela Karlan, 57 | Professor, Stanford Law School

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Background: A graduate of Yale University and Law School, she clerked for Justice Harry Blackmun at the Supreme Court, who credited her with being the main drafter of his dissent in Bowers v. Hardwick, which became the first major judicial statement in favor of gay rights. She worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund before becoming a law professor and headed the Justice Department's voting rights section in 2014.

Advantages/Disadvantages: One of the most celebrated liberal legal scholars of her generation, Karlan is probably the most liberal candidate Obama would consider. She would be the first openly bisexual member of the court. "Would I like to be on the Supreme Court?" she said once in a graduation speech, "You bet I would, but not enough to have trimmed my sails for half a lifetime.

Leondra Kruger, 39 | Associate justice, California Supreme Court

(AP Photo/California Governor's Office)

Background: Grew up in South Pasadena, graduated from Harvard and Yale Law School, clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens, served in the Obama administration in the Justice Department in the solicitor general's office and the Office of Legal Counsel. Appointed to the California Supreme Court by Gov. Jerry Brown in December 2014.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Likely too young to make the short list this time around, Kruger is nonetheless considered a potential Supreme Court pick in a future Democratic administration.

Goodwin Liu, 45 | Associate justice, California Supreme Court

(Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

Background: A former professor at UC Berkeley School of Law and expert on constitutional law, he drew praise as a scholar. Obama tried to name him to the 9th Circuit but was blocked by a Republican filibuster. Gov. Jerry Brown then named Liu to the California high court.

Advantages/Disadvantages: He would be the first Asian member of the Supreme Court, but as his previous nomination showed, he faces strong opposition from GOP senators who consider him too liberal. Young enough to be a future nominee.

Deval Patrick, 59 | Former Massachusetts governor

(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Associated Press)

Background: A friend of Obama's, he was well regarded in his two terms as governor. He headed the Justice Department's civil rights division in the Clinton administration.

Advantages/Disadvantages: As a prominent black former elected official, he could attract considerable political support, but Republicans would home in on his lack of judicial experience.


An interactive version of this list originally ran on Feb. 17.