The word is that Justice David Souter plans to retire. Let the speculation on his replacement begin!
Back in the day, I put my money down on 2nd Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor as Obama's first nominee. That was assuming that he'd face a intransigent Republican minority that he'd have to appease -- otherwise, I think Obama would be far more likely to nominate a more aggressively liberal lion to the bench. So, is that the situation right now? On the one hand, the Republican minority has been pretty incorrigible as of late. On the other hand, that might just show that compromise is useless. And in any event, the Senate is about to find itself with a 60 vote Democratic super-majority. But will it hold strong? I'd like to think that Harry Reid can keep his caucus in line at least for cloture motions, but never underestimate the Democratic Party's lack of a spine.
UPDATE: One thing I have been wondering about is who the first Republican will be to characterize Souter as a "moderate conservative" and demand his replacement be in the same mold? After a decade and a half of flaming him as essentially Benedict Arnold mixed with Che Guevera, I can't wait.