The Bench

Obama Eyes Justice Stevens' Replacement

Place your bets early. Amid reports that Justice John Paul Stevens will certainly retire before the end of Barack Obama’s first term, the president is said to be eyeing three potential replacements: U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and federal appellate court judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland. Obama strongly considered Kagan and Wood for the seat that eventually went to Sonia Sotomayor. If chosen, however, they will face a tougher battle: The Democrats have since lost their 60-seat majority in the Senate and the number-two Senate Republican, John Kyl, is already warning that the GOP will filibuster an “overly ideological” nominee—a category in which he apparently placed Sotomayor.