Influential Supreme Court expert says a dark horse candidate might fill Scalia's seat

Scalia's Legacy and the Supreme Court's Future
Scalia's Legacy and the Supreme Court's Future

In a post on Tuesday, a co-founder of the influential SCOTUSBlog mentioned a new, and somewhat unlikely, candidate to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

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SCOTUSBlog's Tom Goldstein argues that U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 45, could be a viable candidate, even though she's never served on a federal appeals court as many high court justices do.

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A former Supreme Court law clerk with a law degree from Harvard, Brown Jackson was confirmed to her current seat on the Us District Court for the District of Columbia without anybody voting against her.

She also has an impressive family, as Goldstein notes. From his blog post (emphasis ours):

"She is married to a surgeon and has two young daughters. Her father is a retired lawyer and her mother a retired school principal. Her brother was a police officer (in the unit that was the basis for the television show The Wire) and is now a law student, and she is related by marriage to Congressman (and Speaker of the House) Paul Ryan."

During her confirmation in 2012, Ryan offered his "unequivocal support" and praised her "intellect, character, and integrity," reports The Times-Picayune. (That paper noted that Ryan's brother-in-law, William Jackson, is the twin brother of Brown Jackson's husband.)

It could be awkward for Republican Senators to block her given the support she got when she was nominated to the District Court.

Moreover, in an election year -- and facing a highly polarized confirmation process -- Obama needs to rally the Democratic base, and also convince independents that Republicans are "blocking the orderly functioning of the government," according to Goldstein.

Watch more coverage:

Who Should Pick Scalia's Replacement?
Who Should Pick Scalia's Replacement?

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