The estimable publisher of SCOTUSblog Tom Goldstein argues that for political reasons Obama would be well advised to nominate an Hispanic, but that he’ll probably choose an African American, somebody like 9th Circuit judge Paul Watford, who was confirmed in 2012 by 61 to 34 votes.
On reflection, though, I’m not sure he’s right that nominating an Hispanic is necessarily smarter politics than nominating an Asian American like DC Circuit Court judge Sri Srinavasan, who is also on everyone’s short list.
The political arguments for choosing an Asian are many. Asians have shifted dramatically to the Democrats in recent elections, but a higher percentage of them are undeclared, so nailing down their loyalty is an imperative. They’re not as large a group as Latinos, but they’re the fastest growing immigrant group. Plus they have higher incomes so can contribute more to campaigns.
And here’s the biggest thing, which I didn’t know until I discovered it on the Cook Political Report and haven’t seen reported elsewhere: in the states that will decide the 2016 presidential, there are typically as many or close to as many Asians as Latinos:
Oh, and Sri Srinivasan was confirmed for his seat in 2013 97-0.