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Obama calls 'empathy' key to Supreme Court pick

Interest groups are already lobbying for a woman, minority or solid liberal to succeed Justice David Souter. Obama says he puts empathy, intelligence and independence before ideology.

May 02, 2009|Janet Hook and Christi Parsons

Background: The two-term Democratic governor and former state attorney general was born in British Columbia, Canada, and spent time in Los Angeles as an aspiring actress -- working as a tour guide at Universal Studios and in the circulation department of the Los Angeles Times.

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Chris Gregoire

Governor of Washington

Age: 62

Background: Like Granholm, she is a former state attorney general. Born in Michigan, she grew up on a farm in Auburn, Wash., and worked as a clerk-typist for the state parole board and as a welfare caseworker. In 1998, she was lead negotiator of a $206-billion settlement between 46 states and the tobacco industry.

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Deval Patrick

Governor of Massachusetts

Age: 52

Background: A Harvard Law School grad from the South Side of Chicago, he was tapped by Clinton for the nation's top civil rights post in the Justice Department. After several years in private practice, he became governor in 2006. The Democrat is a longtime Obama ally and would become the second African American on the current court. He was involved in a recent hiring controversy, and while in Justice, he angered conservatives with his staunch defense of racial preferences in hiring.

Source: Times research

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