Larry D. Thompson, 59, is a senior vice president and general counsel for PepsiCo.

He was the deputy attorney general -- the number two person at the Justice Department -- for much of President Bush's first term.

During his tenure at Justice, he had daily involvement in anti-terrorism efforts and headed the corporate crime task force that pursued prosecutions against Enron Corp., WorldCom Inc. and HealthSouth Corp.

He was one of the highest-ranking African American officials in the Bush administration. If appointed to the court, he will be the third black justice.

Thompson is a longtime acquaintance of Justice Clarence Thomas and was a member of the legal team that assisted Thomas during his confirmation hearings in 1991.

Around the same time, Thompson angered some civil rights groups when he wrote in a 1991 opinion column for the Atlanta Constitution that certain black leaders "stressed . . . black people as victims" and ignored such problems in the black community as "lack of respect for the law, kids having children too soon and fathers who were not taking their responsibility seriously."

A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Thompson served as a U.S. attorney in Georgia and practiced at the Atlanta firm King & Spalding from 1986 to 2001.

-- Darryl Fears