It will be a person skilled in constitutional law but by judicial demeanor understands the impact jurists have on the common man.
If that person he selects is a woman or Hispanic, so much the better.
When Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review he remained aloof to the student rebellion against professors and judges with only academic credits in their portfolios. But, according to one of his underclassmen, sympathized with the protesters that jurists must have an empathy for the people. (The classmate was Juan Zuniga, a cousin of mine, of whom I wrote in a post several months ago.)
And that exactly is what Obama spelled out when he announced Justice David Souter's pending retirement and search for a new replacement by October.
Nominations for Supreme Court are some of the most contentious debates in our democratic system. The politics and special interest pressure is brutal.
Think about it. The opposition party will always threaten filibuster. A litmus test will be required by pro-choice and anti-abortion proponents. Nominees will be subject to hypothetical questions they can't in good conscious answer. Gender and ethnic groups demand balance on the 9-justice court bench. And, on and on.
The opposition vetting tactics are such that no longer is it likely a confirmation will be made by the Senate when the justice turns out to be a turncoat. The list of judges falling in that list are legion -- Warren, Blackmum, O'Connor and Souter, to name a few.
The New York Times Saturday ran a story about more than 200 women in federal courts and former governors who could meet Obama's standards.
Most prominently mentioned is Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge of Puerto Rican descent.
The Hispanic pool is much smaller yet excruciatingly critical from Obama's standpoint. Latinos are part of his major base and projected to be the largest ethnic group in the nation by 2040.
A gentle reminder to President Obama: Stick to your guns and please, please, make damn certain your nominee has paid all taxes and never hired an undocumented foreign nanny, cook or gardener.