Thinking of the next Supreme Court justice

We know that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are a healthy, spry bunch – even though two-thirds of the justices are age 68 or higher. Even the most senior members show no signs of slowing down, with Justice John Paul Stevens still enjoying tennis and swims in the Atlantic Ocean at the age of 88, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg regularly hitting the elliptical trainers in the Court’s gym at the young age of 75.

But it is a presidential election year, and that means that members of the campaign teams of Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are talking about who might be considered for the bench, should a seat become vacant.

“Regardless of who is elected president, there will be strong sentiments in favor of appointing a woman or someone who would reflect other elements of diversity such as an Hispanic or African-American,” veteran Supreme Court litigator and former U.S. solicitor general Theodore Olsen told Bloomberg News. Olsen is an advisor for McCain’s campaign.

So who might be on Obama’s judicial short list? Experts quoted in the Bloomberg piece point to potential candidates like former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, now a partner at WilmerHale, and and Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan.

McCain’s high court list may include names like former United States Deputy Solicitor General Maureen Mahoney, now a partner at Latham & Watkins, a lawmaker like Texas Sen. John Cornyn, or 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Michael McConnell.

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