There's a name that keeps coming up on many of these "short lists" for a possible Obama Supreme Court appointment now that David Souter is retiring. According to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the National Journal and the Wall Street Journal, former Stanford Law dean Kathleen Sullivan is a speculated contender. She is widely considered one of Americas top constitutional law scholars. She is a co-author of one of the nations leading casebooks in Constitutional Law called... Constitutional Law. Sullivan graduated from Cornell in 1976, graduated as a Marshall Scholar from Oxford in 1978, then graduated from Harvard Law School in 1981, where her mentor Laurence Tribe called her "the most extraordinary student I had ever had". After law school, Sullivan worked for one year as a law clerk for Judge James Oakes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Sullivan was a professor of law at Harvard Law School from 1984 until 1993. She joined Stanford Law School in 1993 and became the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law in 1996. Sullivan then served as the dean of Stanford Law School from 1999 until 2004. Kathleen Sullivan is 53, an out lesbian, and has argued many cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and has filed amicus curiae briefs in some of the most important Supreme Court cases involving LGBT rights, including Bowers v. Hardwick and Lawrence v. Texas. She's a regular contributor to the New York Times and Washington Post op-ed pages; Sullivan can untangle and explain complex constitutional issues in a way the lay reader can understand. Regardless of whether Sullivan is nominated or not (there are several worthy women: court of appeal judges, district court judges, state Supreme Court justices, state governors, prominent Law academics), Obama has given us several indications as to the qualities he's looking for in a Supreme Court justice: Explaining his opposition to Samuel Alito, Obama said: "I have no doubt that Judge Alito has the training and qualifications necessary to serve. He's an intelligent man and an accomplished jurist. And there's no indication he's not a man of great character. But when you look at his record when it comes to his understanding of the Constitution, I have found that in almost every case, he consistently sides on behalf of the powerful against the powerless; on behalf of a strong government or corporation against upholding Americans' individual rights." In a speech before Planned Parenthood he said: "We need somebody who's got the heart the empathy to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old -- and that's the criteria by which I'll be selecting my judges." In November, 2007, Obama answered a question with: "I taught constitutional law for 10 years, and... when you look at what makes a great Supreme Court justice, it's not just the particular issue and how they rule, but it's their conception of the Court. And part of the role of the Court is that it is going to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process, the outsider, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don't have a lot of clout... Sometimes we're only looking at academics or people who've been in the lower courts. If we can find people who have life experience and they understand what it means to be on the outside, what it means to have the system not work for them, that's the kind of person I want on the Supreme Court."