Several outlets have reported that Ninth Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, a liberal Clinton appointee based in Montana, interviewed with President Obama to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. Thomas is known out West for his formidable intellect, and also because he is next in line to succeed Chief Judge Alex Kozinski when his term at the circuit’s helm expires in 2014.
So if Obama selects Thomas, who would take over as chief after Kozinski? According to the court, the next judge in the seniority line is Judge Barry Silverman, a moderate Clinton pick based in Arizona. The next person after Silverman in seniority is Judge Susan Graber, followed by Judge M. Margaret McKeown.
Kozinski told the Wall Street Journal today that he corresponded with Thomas after the interview. Thomas "was a little surprised that it was 'the Full Monty'—that he interviewed with the president and vice president," Kozinski told the Journal. "He thought he would just meet with someone on the president's staff."