Denver judge could be on Obama’s short list for Supreme Court nominee

U.S. District Court Judge Christine Arguello, named to the bench for the District of Colorado by President George W. Bush last fall, tops the list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees who haven’t gotten press attention, NPR courts correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.

Christine Arguello (Photo/Casey A. Cass, University of Colorado)
Christine Arguello (Photo/Casey A. Cass, University of Colorado)
Granted, the list is in alphabetical order, but the Colorado native has gotten props from at least a few close court watchers trying to guess who will win President Barack Obama’s nod to take retiring Justice David Souter’s place.

“White House officials are gleefully telling reporters the president’s list includes people not generally mentioned in the press,” Totenberg proposed on the Weekend Edition Sunday news program, “so what are some of the names that have gotten little or no attention?”

Noting that Obama is expected to name his pick this week or next, Totenberg tallies eight potential high court nominees whose inclusion on the list might come as a surprise. Including Arguello, seven of the eight are women, two are Hispanic, and four are African American.

Listen to Totenberg’s story on the dark horses. Here’s how she described Arguello:

First, Christine Arguello: Mexican-American; a Harvard law grad, the daughter of a railroad worker. She was the first in her family to go to college. A lawyer, professor and Colorado’s chief deputy attorney general, she was nominated by President Clinton to a federal appeals court, but too late to win confirmation. Last year, promoted by Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar, she was appointed a federal trial judge by President Bush.

Arguello, a 1977 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and 1980 graduate of Harvard Law School, most recently was managing senior associate counsel at CU Boulder before donning the robes. She became the first Hispanic judge on the U.S. District Court for Colorado, a background shared by only 71 of 1,294 federal judges in 2008.

Read Arguello’s remarks delivered at her investiture as a federal judge, including her recollection of the time she picked up a magazine in the Buena Vista library at age 13 and decided she wanted to become a lawyer, “an advocate for those who could not advocate for themselves.”

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