1 Loretta Lynch
2 Eric Holder
3 Kamala Harris
4 Anita Hill
5 Leah Ward Sears
6 Paulette Brown
"Justice Breyer (and) Justice Ginsburg are very sensible judges. I think that Justice Souter, who was a Republican appointee, is a sensible judge.
"What you're looking for is somebody who's going to apply the law where it's clear.
Now, there's going to be those 5 percent of cases or 1 percent of cases where the law isn't clear, and the judge then has to bring in his or her own perspectives, his ethics, his or her moral bearings, and in those circumstances, what I do want is a judge who is sympathetic enough to those who are on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless, those who can't have access to political power and, as a consequence, can't protect themselves from being dealt with sometimes unfairly.
"The court's become a refuge for justice. That's been its historic role. That was its role in Brown v. Board of Education. I think a judge who is unsympathetic to the fact that in some cases, we've got to make sure that civil rights are protected, that we've got to make sure that civil liberties are protected — because oftentimes there are pressures that are placed on politicians to want to set civil liberties aside, especially in time(s) when we've had terrorist attacks — making sure that we maintain our separation of powers so that we don't have a president who is taking over more and more power. I think those are all criteria by which I can judge whether or not this is a good appointee."
In his remarks about Souter's retirement, (President) Obama laid out his vision for the appointment:
"I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity. I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook.
It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives — whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.
"I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.
I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time."