Pulling Up Lame

Loser versus loser: Handicapping the coming Supreme Court vacancies

EDITH JONES: A judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, she is perhaps best known for a decision claiming that the federal government could not restrict distribution of Louisiana's "Choose Life" license plates. She was appointed by Reagan.

ALBERTO GONZALES: The attorney general and former White House counsel, where he was prominent in OK'ing torture in Iraq prisons, he's the best known of several Hispanic possibilities.

SAMUEL ALITO JR.: A judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, out of Philadelphia, who is sometimes referred to as "Scalito" because of his copycat thinking. He is known for a decision limiting hate speech restrictions.

MIGUEL ESTRADA: A Federalist Society member, Estrada was nominated to a federal judgeship by George W. Bush, but his name was withdrawn because of his lack of qualifications.

EMILIO MILLER GARZA: Another judge from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Political appointees

THEODORE OLSON: Other than Gonzales, the leading judge candidate among political appointees is Olson, who argued Bush's election case before the Supreme Court in 2000 and was rewarded with an appointment as solicitor general. Olson, whose wife, Barbara, was on the plane that rammed the Pentagon on 9-11, is a veteran lawyer for presidents. He worked for Reagan, representing him on the Iran-Contra scandal, and is a well-known figure in the conservative political community, having headed the D.C. chapter of the Federalist Society. A former partner of Kenneth Starr's, Olson assisted in Paula Jones's legal case against Bill Clinton, represented Whitewater figure David Hale in hearings before the Congress, and was involved in the Arkansas Project. Olson also unsuccessfully defended the Virginia Military Institute's ban on women, fought for the Colorado initiative that would have barred cities and towns from passing gay rights statutes, and won a case that overturned affirmative action admissions policies at the University of Texas law school.

LARRY THOMPSON: Bush's former deputy attorney general and the Bush administration's highest-ranking black law-enforcement official until he quit in 2003, Thompson joined the Brookings Institution as senior fellow and later became general counsel at Pepsi.

Additional reporting: Natalie Wittlin and Halley Bondy

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