As President Obama prepares to choose his first Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter, former colleagues and students say he will likely favor a pragmatist with a limited view of the role of courts, reports the New York Times. Many American presidents have been lawyers, but almost none have come to office with Obama’s knowledge of the Supreme Court. Before he was 30, he was editing articles by eminent legal scholars on the court’s decisions. Later, as a law professor, he led students through landmark cases from Plessy v. Ferguson to Bush v. Gore. In interviews, former colleagues and students say they have a fairly strong sense of the kind of justice he will favor: not a larger-than-life liberal to counter the conservative pyrotechnics of Justice Antonin Scalia, but a careful pragmatist. “His nominee will not create the proverbial shock and awe,” said Charles J. Ogletree, a Harvard professor who has known the president since his days as a student. Obama believes the court must never get too far ahead of or behind public sentiment, they say. He might have a mandate for change, and Senate confirmation odds in his favor. But he has almost always disappointed those who expected someone in his position—he was Harvard’s first black law review president and one of the few minority members of the University of Chicago’s law faculty—to side consistently with liberals…

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