The odds are 95% that the expected Rehnquist vacancy will be filled by one of these individuals (though not necessarily as Chief Justice). Because O'Connor is expected to step down soon, maybe simultaneously, I have compiled a separate list of 8 women for her seat. In building this list, I limited myself to candidates less than 60 years old (with one exception), and then eliminated obvious non-contenders.
These are GWB's most likely candidates, even if unacceptable to conservatives:
1. Al Gonzales (White House counsel, 47 yrs old)
2. Ted Olson (Solicitor General, 61 yrs old)
3. Emilio Garza (5th Cir., elevated by Bush Sr., 55 yrs old)
4. Michael Luttig (4th Cir., appointed by Bush Sr., 48 yrs old, father was murdered in famous case)
The following 11 candidates are longshots, but possible:
Dennis Jacobs (2nd Cir., appointed by Bush Sr., 58 yrs old)
Rhesa Barksdale (5th Cir., appointed by Bush Sr., male, 58 yrs old)
William Riley (8th Cir., appointed by GWB, 55 yrs old)
Michael Melloy (8th Cir., elevated by GWB, 54 yrs old)
Andrew Kleinfeld (9th Cir., elevated by Bush Sr., 57 yrs old)
Richard Clifton (9th Cir., appointed by GWB, 52 yrs old)
Harris Hartz (10th Cir., appointed by GWB, 55 yrs old)
Terrence O'Brien (10th Cir., appointed by GWB, 59 yrs old)
Stanley Birch (11th Cir., appointed by Bush Sr., 57 yrs old)
Edward Carnes (11th Cir., appointed by Bush Sr., 52 yrs old)
Joel Dubina (11th Cir., elevated by Bush Sr., 55 yrs old)
John Ashcroft (Attorney General, 59 yrs old)
The following 9 candidates are likely to be ignored by GWB, though some are the best judges in the nation:
Jeffrey Howard (1st Cir., appointed by GWB, 47 yrs old, from NH)
David Brooks Smith (3rd Cir., elevated by GWB, 51 yrs old)
Sam Alito (3rd Cir., appointed by Bush Sr., 52 yrs old)
James Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir., 58 yrs old, appointed by Reagan)
Jerry Smith (5th Cir., appointed by Reagan, 56 yrs old)
Danny Boggs (6th Cir., appointed by Reagan, 58 yrs old)
Frank Easterbrook (7th Cir., appointed by Reagan, 54 yrs old)
Kenneth Ripple (7th Cir., appointed by Reagan, 59 yrs old)
James Edmondson (11th Cir., appointed by Reagan, 55 yrs old)
The next step is to compile and disseminate information about these candidates, and veto unacceptable ones. Had this been done before Souter was picked, for example, we would be in a much better situation today.
Liza wrote, "I can't believe Andy is defending Cardinal Law. Of course he had to go. It shouldn't have taken this long."
Your view that a cardinal, innocent of any intentional wrongdoing, "had to go" is a protestant-like approach. What else does the Church "have to do"? Allow priests to marry? Accept birth control? Women priests?
The Church reviewed the facts concerning Cardinal Law earlier in the year and concluded he should stay on. After all, there is no evidence that he intentionally committed any wrong.
The alarming development is that public pressure, mostly by people who oppose Catholic doctrine, caused the Church to cave in. Like Trent Lott's apologies, we'll see if Cardinal Law's resignation helps or hurts the Church.
What difference does it make whether Law was "innocent of any intentional wrongdoing"? Nobody cares about that. Maybe he is stupid. Maybe he is incompetent. Maybe he is irresponsible. Maybe he is a pervert. Maybe he is callous. Maybe he has a very twisted set of values. For whatever reasons, he was not doing the job adequately.
We don't know the reasons for the Church's decision to keep Law, so that tells us nothing.
Lott's apologies were particularly lame. Somebody in political leadership should have had the skills to handle it better.