The President has an opening on the Supreme Court. There are more than a few qualified African Americans that could take that spot.

First possible nominee is Leah Ward Sears.

W.E.E. See You did an absolutely fabulous profile of Judge Sears.

Leah Ward Sears (born June 13, 1955) is an American jurist and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S. state of Georgia. Sears was the first African-American female Chief Justice in the United States. When she was first appointed as justice in 1992 by then-Governor Zell Miller, she became the first woman and youngest person to sit on the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Early life and education

Leah Ward Sears was born in Heidelberg, Germany to United States Army Colonel Thomas E. Sears and Onnye Jean Sears. The family eventually settled in Savannah, Georgia, where she attended and graduated from high school.

Sears received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in 1976, her Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law in 1980, and a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. At Cornell, Sears was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated[1] and the Quill and Dagger society. She holds honorary degrees from Morehouse College, Clark-Atlanta University, LaGrange College, Piedmont College, and Spelman College.

Another possible nominee is someone the President knows well: Professor Charles Ogletree.

Charles J. Ogletree (born December 31, 1952 in Merced, California) is Jesse Climenko Professor at Harvard Law School, the founder of the school’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and the author of numerous books on legal topics.


Ogletree was born to farm workers in central California. He earned both his B.A. (1974, with distinction) and M.A. (1975) in political science from Stanford University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1978.


* Director, Saturday School Program
* Lecturer on Law, 1984
* Visiting Professor of Law from Practice, 1985
* Edward R. Johnston Lecturer on Law, 1989
* Assistant Professor of Law, 1989
* Director, Criminal Justice Institute, 1990
* Professor of Law, 1993
* Faculty Director, Clinical Programs, 1996
* Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, 1998
* Associate Dean for the Clinical Programs, 2002
* Vice Dean for Clinical Programs, 2003
* Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, 2004

As one of my fellow bloggers put it about Ogletree:

I think the best qualified to be Supreme Court Justice is Ogletree regardless
of race he clerked for Thurgood Marshall, helped develop the South African
Constituition and has been at the helm of the most prestigious law school in
the county while still advocating for the rights of working class people.

Saw this suggestion over at Booman Tribune

Michelle Alexander

Associate Professor of Law

Professor Alexander joined the OSU faculty in 2005. She holds a joint appointment with the Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Prior to joining the OSU faculty, she was a member of the Stanford Law School faculty, where she served as Director of the Civil Rights Clinic.

Professor Alexander has significant experience in the field of civil rights advocacy and litigation. She has litigated civil rights cases in private practice as well as engaged in innovative litigation and advocacy efforts in the non-profit sector. For several years, Professor Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, which spearheaded a national campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement. While an associate at Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, she specialized in plaintiff-side class action suits alleging race and gender discrimination.

Professor Alexander is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court, and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

She’s the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Bernice Bouie Donald

United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee Memphis, Tennessee

Born: DeSoto County, Mississippi-September 17, 1951
Education: University of Memphis (B.A. 1974; J.D. 1979)
Judge Donald was appointed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee by President Clinton on December 22, 1995. With that appointment, Judge Donald became the first African-American female United States District Court Judge in Tennessee.

Bernice Bouie Donald is the sixth of ten children raised on a sharecropper’s farm in DeSoto County, Mississippi. Her mother and father, Willie and Perry Bouie, were the primary influences in her life. Judge Donald’s minister and certain teachers were also quite influential. Although Donald had intended to pursue a career in social work, she was later motivated to pursue law because she saw law as a primary tool for social change and equal justice. In this regard, Judge Donald has said:

Early in my career, my family was the biggest source of inspiration for me. My family and my church. And then the times in which I grew up. There was a lot of change going on in the world and our environment. Just being a product of that environment, when people-I think everybody-was just sort of stretching, as a family as a community, as a nation.

In the course of pursuing a legal career, Judge Donald achieved many “firsts.” She was the first elected African-American female judge in the State of Tennessee. She was also the first African-American female U.S. Bankruptcy Judge appointed in the United States. With her appointment in 1996, Judge Donald also became the first African-American female judge appointed to the United States District Court in Tennessee. Judge Donald’s later decision to become a judge grew out of her work as a public defender with Shelby County. She states that:

I felt that many judges did not ensure equal justice for poor people. I felt that according dignity and respect to all litigants regardless of race, class, socio-economic status, or gender were critical to the preservation of our justice system, and that I could play an important role in fostering that environment.

In her spare time, Judge Donald enjoys being active in numerous organizations and is the recipient of over 100 awards for her professional, civic and community activities. In addition, she enjoys teaching, having held positions as an Adjunct Professor at both the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and the Shelby State Community College.

Because of her many accomplishments, Judge Donald has been featured in Ebony, Essence, Jet, Black Enterprise, Dollars & Sense, and Memphis Magazine. Her advice to would-be lawyers and judges is “make an honest commitment to yourself that you are willing to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices to attain your goal.”

Christopher Edley, Jr.

Title: The Honorable William H. Orrick Jr. Distinguished Chair and Dean

Christopher Edley, Jr. joined Boalt Hall as dean and professor of law in 2004, after 23 years as a professor at Harvard Law School. He earned a law degree and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, where he served as an editor and officer of the Harvard Law Review. Edley’s academic work is primarily in the areas of civil rights and administrative law. He has also taught federalism, budget policy, Defense Department procurement law, national security law, and environmental law. Edley was co-founder of the Harvard Civil Rights Project, a renowned multidisciplinary research and policy think tank focused on issues of racial justice. His publications include Not All Black and White: Affirmative Action, Race and American Values and Administrative Law: Rethinking Judicial Control of Bureaucracy.

Following graduation, Edley joined President Carter’s administration as assistant director of the White House domestic policy staff, where his responsibilities included welfare reform, food stamps, child welfare, disability issues, and social security. He served as national issues director throughout the 1987-88 Dukakis presidential campaign, and then as a senior adviser on economic policy for President Bill Clinton?s transition team in 1992. In the Clinton administration, he worked as associate director for economics and government at the White House Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995. There, he oversaw a staff of 70 civil servants responsible for White House oversight of budget, legislative and management issues in five cabinet departments (Justice, Treasury, Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, Commerce) and a diverse group of over 40 autonomous agencies, including: FEMA, FCC, General Services Administration, SBA, SEC, CFTC, EEOC, the bank regulatory agencies, and the District of Columbia. In 1995 he was also special counsel to the President, directing the White House review of affirmative action. He later served the Clinton White House in 1997 as a consultant to the President?s advisory board on the race initiative.

From 1999-2005, Edley served as a congressional appointee on the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2001, he was a member of the Carter-Ford National Commission on Federal Election Reform. He is currently a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation and of The Century Foundation. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Law Institute. He also serves on the executive committee of the advisory board for the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council, which is the research arm of the National Academies of Sciences. At UC Berkeley, he is founder and faculty-Co-Director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, a multidisciplinary think tank.

In March 2006, Dean Edley was named to a national nonpartisan commission created to conduct an independent review of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The 12-member Commission on No Child Left Behind issued recommendations in February 2007 for reforming and improving the legislation as Congress considers reauthorizing federal education laws. Co-chaired by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and former Georgia Governor Roy E. Barnes, the commission is funded by several leading educational foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In April 2007, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which conducts scholarly activities and interdisciplinary research to advance the public good, elected Dean Edley as one of its new Fellows.
B.A., Swarthmore College (1973)
J.D., Harvard University (1978)
M.P.P., Harvard University (1978)

One of my fellow bloggers said this post would not be complete without:

Anita F. Hill

Author, educator, and attorney Anita F. Hill was born in Morris, Oklahoma, on July 30, 1956. She was one of thirteen children born to Albert and Irma Hill, who farmed in the Okmulgee County area. Her parents set high moral standards for her, and she was reared in the Baptist faith.

Academically gifted, Hill graduated as valedictorian from Morris High School in 1973. A National Merit Scholar, she attended Oklahoma State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1977. She enrolled in the Yale University Law School, obtaining a J.D. degree in 1980.

Following graduation from Yale, Hill taught civil rights, contracts, and commercial law at Oral Roberts University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of California at Berkeley. She became a national figure in 1991 when she accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during her tenure at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Opportunity Commission. Hill’s accusation resulted in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although Thomas narrowly received Senate confirmation and appointment as an associate justice to the Supreme Court, Hill had placed the issue of sexual harassment in the national spotlight.

By the beginning of the twenty-first century Hill had become a highly sought after lecturer, traveling internationally and speaking on racial and gender issues in the workplace. She had appeared on national programs, including 60 Minutes and Face the Nation. Her publications have included articles regarding civil rights issues in Newsweek and the New York Times. Moreover, she had authored Speaking Truth to Power and served as the co-editor of Race, Gender, and Power in America: The Legacy of the Hill-Thomas Hearings.

Hill’s recognition has included being awarded the Ray and Marian Vestor Lectureship at Linfield College, the Carlsen Lecture at the University of Minnesota, the William O. Douglas Lectureship at Gonzaga Law School, and the Dean’s Lecture at Yale University Law School.

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