March 8, 2016 / 9:03 PM / 3 years ago

Factbox: Potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama is narrowing his search for a nominee to fill the pivotal vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. The Republican-led U.S. Senate has the authority to approve, or reject, any nominee to the high court.

Here is a look at some leading potential candidates for the job.

Sri Srinivasan

Age: 49

Current position: Federal appeals court judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, appointed in 2013 by Obama, confirmed by the Senate on a 97-0 vote.

Education: Stanford University bachelor’s degree, law degree, master’s degree in business administration.

Highlights of previous experience: Principal deputy U.S. solicitor general, 2011-2013; partner, O’Melveny and Myers, Washington, 2007-2011; law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 1997-98; law clerk to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, 1995-96.

Personal background: Born in Chandigarh, India, grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, where his father was a professor at the University of Kansas; would be the first Indian-American and Hindu on the Supreme Court; as an appellate lawyer, argued 25 cases before the justices.

Possible leverage with Senate Republicans: Worked for Republican-appointed judges, had strong ties to business while in private practice and is generally viewed as a moderate; distinction as first Asian-American on the high court could be a plus.

Jane Kelly

Age: 51

Current position: Federal appeals court judge, on St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, office in Iowa; appointed 2013 by Obama, confirmed by the Senate on a 96-0 vote.

Education: Duke University bachelor’s degree; Harvard law degree.

Highlights of previous experience: Federal public defender, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1994-2013; law clerk to Judge David Hansen on the 8th Circuit, 1992-93.

Personal background: Born in Indiana; classmate of Obama at Harvard Law School; survived a brutal attack while jogging in Cedar Rapids in 2004; the assailant was never caught, and Kelly returned to criminal defense work; when named to 8th Circuit, she became only the second woman ever to serve on that court.

Possible leverage with Senate Republicans: During her 2013 appeals court appointment, Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that would hold confirmation hearings on any Supreme Court nominee, praised Kelly and called her “well regarded in my home state.” Grassley is a long-time friend of now-retired Judge Hansen.

Paul Watford

Age: 48

Current position: Federal appeals court judge, on the San Francisco-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; appointed by Obama in 2012, approved by the Senate on a 61-34 vote.

Education: University of California, Berkeley, bachelor’s degree; University of California, Los Angeles, law degree.

Highlights of previous experience: Private practice, Munger Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, 2001-2012; assistant U.S. attorney, 1997-2000, law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1995-96; law clerk to Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, 1994-95.

Personal background: Born in California, African-American; if nominated and confirmed, he would become only the third black justice ever to serve on the high court.

Possible leverage with Senate Republicans: Considered a moderate on the 9th Circuit; earlier had a conservative-friendly track record as a prosecutor, corporate lawyer and clerk to Kozinski, an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Merrick Garland

Age: 63

Current position: Federal appeals court judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997, approved by the Senate on a 76-23 vote.

Education: Harvard bachelor’s degree, law degree.

Highlights of previous experience: Principal associate deputy attorney general, 1994-97, during which he oversaw prosecutions involving the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and so-called Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; law clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, 1978-79.

Personal background: Born in Chicago; his nomination to the D.C. Circuit stalled for several years and was approved by the Senate after help from key Republicans including Orrin Hatch of Utah; Garland was under consideration by Obama in 2009 and 2010 when the president ultimately named Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Possible leverage with Senate Republicans: Considered a moderate with friends in both political parties; being an older appointee could be an advantage as Obama navigates a Republican-led Senate that does not want a long-serving Democratic appointee.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Age: 45

Current position: Federal trial court judge, U.S. District Court in Washington, appointed by Obama in 2013, confirmed by the Senate on voice vote.

Education: Harvard bachelor’s degree, law degree.

Highlights of previous experience: Private practice, Morrison & Foerster in Washington, 2007-2013; vice chair, U.S. Sentencing Commission, 2010-14; federal public defender’s office, 2005-07; law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 1999-2000; law clerk to Appeals Court Judge Bruce Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, 1997-1998.

Personal background: Born in Washington; if nominated and confirmed, would be the first black woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court.

Possible leverage with Senate Republicans: During her confirmation hearing to the federal trial court, she was supported by Republican Paul Ryan, current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to whom she is related by marriage; Ryan’s brother-in-law is her husband’s twin brother.

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