NOW Spotlight on Supreme Court candidates: Janet Napolitano

By Riley Karbon, Field Intern

With Justice Stevens retiring after many years of service to women’s issues, Janet Napolitano is one of the people making Obama’s short list to replace him. Napolitano’s long history of public service and support for women led to her most recent appointment, United States Secretary of Homeland Security.

Before entering public office, she received a Truman Scholarship from Santa Clara University and graduated as their first female valedictorian. Napolitano then went on to receive her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and serve as a clerk for Judge Mary Schroeder on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Later, she practiced law at the firm of Lewis and Roca located in Phoenix, Arizona during which time she also served as an attorney for Anita Hill in her sexual harassment case against then U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Clarence Thomas.

Napolitano has served in various government leadership positions in her career. President Clinton appointed her Attorney General of Arizona from 1999 to 2002, after which she ran for governor and held that post from 2003 to 2009. This made her Arizona’s third female governor and the first woman to win re-election there. She went on to be the first woman to chair the National Governors Association and was named one of the top five governors in the country by Time Magazine.

Napolitano’s continued breaking the glass ceiling in her appointment to Secretary of Homeland Security by President Obama. She is the first woman to hold this relatively new post, serving to secure the United States from threats of terrorism and from natural disasters.

In her current work as Secretary of Homeland Security, she is seeking to bring down those forging fake documents and corporations exploiting illegal labor rather than the immigrants themselves with still supporting increased border security.

Throughout her political career Napolitano has run as a Democrat. She supports abortion rights, the death penalty, and is a Christian Methodist. She supports increasing border security and has been most scrutinized for her views on immigration. She’s been called a “tough pragmatist with bipartisan credibility” and has years of public policy experience to bring to the post. Keep checking Say it Sister in the coming weeks for more potential Supreme Court nominees.

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