Ken Salazar touted for U.S. Supreme Court post

Ivan Moreno
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet are trying to lift Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to the top of the list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, telling President Barack Obama he “can add a new perspective to the Court.”

In a letter dated Thursday, Ritter and the senators praise Salazar, saying he has all the qualities Obama wants in a nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter.

Salazar “shares the vision and values you have articulated and pursued as President, and brings the perspective of a Westerner and one of the Hispanic community’s leading voices,” the letter said.

Obama is expected to announce a nominee as soon as Tuesday.

But even with all of the acclaim the Colorado Democrats have given Salazar, the former U.S. senator and former Colorado attorney general, said earlier this month he’s not interested in being on the Supreme Court.

He told Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today Show” on May 8 that he loves his current job.

“I have a great job with President Barack Obama, and I’m enjoying what I’m doing every day,” Salazar said.

In the letter signed by Ritter, Udall and Bennet, they also tout Salazar for rising to success “from humble beginnings in Colorado’s rural San Luis Valley” in southern Colorado.

“Ken Salazar has substantive legal experience, a keen intellect, and a compelling personal story with roots in the rural West,” Udall said in a statement Saturday. “I believe he would make an outstanding contribution to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Salazar, 54, was a U.S. senator from January 2005 until he was appointed to his current post. He started his career in 1981 in a private law practice, before serving as chief counsel in 1987 to former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer. Salazar, who is married and has two daughters, was Colorado’s attorney general before being elected to the Senate.

His brother, John Salazar, is a congressman in the state’s 3rd District.

Obama has said he wants a nominee who can “stand in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes and get a sense of how the law might work or not work in practical day-to-day living.”

Although many have speculated he may choose a woman or a Hispanic, Obama said he won’t be “weighed down” by demographics in making his pick.

Other candidates who Obama is reportedly considering are U.S. Appeals Court judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno.

Denver U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello also said last week that White House intermediaries asked her if she would be willing to be scrutinized for a possible Supreme Court nomination.