Supreme Court

Candidates to replace Justice John Paul Stevens

The White House is searching for a replacement for Justice John Paul Stevens. The list includes some of those President Obama considered last year, when he chose Sonia Sotomayor, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York. At this point, White House aides, Democrats familiar with the process inside the administration and legal experts consider 6 candidates in the lead while others still bear watching.
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Sydney R. Thomas

Year born: 1953
Education: Montana State University, law degree from University of Montana

Thomas is a newcomer to the list, a favorite of his homestate Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. His name has been advanced by liberal groups, although he has described himself as "middle-of-the-road politically and jurisprudentially." Thomas is the least well-known on the list to the Washington legal establishment. White House aides note that he is from outside the Beltway and that he brings non-Ivy League credentials. He would not, however, bring a diversity of experience: every justice is a former appellate judge.

Experience: Private practice 1978-95, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit

Timeline of Thomas's life

Aug. 14, 1953

Born in Bozeman, Montana.


Graduates with B.A. in speech-communications from Montana State University.


Receives J.D. from University of Montana School of Law.


Works as an attorney at Moulton, Bellimgham, Longo and Mather, the former name of a law firm in Billings, Montana.


Teaches law as an adjunct instructor at Rocky Mount College.


Circuit Judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

TIMELINE SOURCES: Staff Reports, WhoRunsGov; GRAPHIC: Robert Barnes, Amy Goldstein and Sisi Wei - The Washington Post
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