Obama will have the opportunity, and extremely early in his presidency, to nominate and name his first Supreme Court Justice as Justice Souter has announced his impending retirement. What this means is that Obama will nominate at least one justice during his 'first' term (remember Justice Ginsberg just had surgery and is still undergoing treatment for the very difficult and taxing pancreatic cancer) and possibly more. And then if he is nominated for a second term, which I believe depends less on politics and more about how America climbs out of The Great Recession, then he will most likely get to nominate one o two more. These justices aren't getting any younger and with retirements, sicknesses and other ailments beginning to take their toll, it seems that a changing of the guard is necessary in the Supreme Court as well.
What will all this mean? A ratification of the conservative-moderate ideals that have long been the staple of the Supreme Court? A shake-up by the appointment of a very liberal justice? Or will Obama simply replace one liberal-leaning justice with another, or appoint someone of moderate political leaning? Either way, I think he has some big decisions to make that will greatly impact the country politically, while simultaneously trying to create and reinforce the largest bi-partisan campaign in recent memory (I doubt Lincoln's Team of Rivals is a proper comparison to Obama's current strife; he hasn't made many friends and no Republicans are voting for any of his proposals).
There's a lot of questions and a few names on the shortlist. Let's just hope that whomever is appointed is free of tax issues so we can move beyond that focal point.