News & Politics


With the Senate’s dressing down of Goldman Sachs and an oil spill off Louisiana’s coast that rivals the Exxon Valdez, it was a quiet week on the SCOTUS front. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some interesting developments in President Obama’s sear

Speaking of Goldman, it turns out Solicitor General Elena Kagan—widely thought to be at the top of Obama’s high-court shortlist—has ties to the investment bank everyone loves to hate. She was a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute from 2005 to 2008. Could that spell trouble for her SCOTUS prospects?

The competition is getting stiffer. For weeks, the three frontrunners have been Kagan and appeals court judges Merrick Garland and Diane Wood. But when it came time for what appears to be his first formal interview of a potential SCOTUS pick, Obama sat down with Judge Sidney Thomas, a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Thomas has been on Obama’s reported shortlist for weeks, but he hasn’t been given nearly as much attention as Kagan, Garland, and Wood.

If you haven’t heard, empathy is now a bad word. It was a key requirement during the president’s first SCOTUS search last summer, but this time around, Obama seems to be avoiding it. This week, he said he wants a nominee who has “a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people.”  That’s clearly a much different standard than empathy, right?

Governors unite! Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm told CNN she thinks it’s smart for President Obama to consider nominating a non-judge to the high court. Granholm, who has never been a judge, is herself getting buzz as a potential SCOTUS contender. She also mentioned former Arizona governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The public, however, disagrees with Granholm.

And California Senator Dianne Feinstein and other Democrats just don’t want Obama to rock the boat

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.