Newly-formed grassroots group Equal Rep is developing a campaign to urge President Barrack Obama to appoint a lesbian to the Supreme Court.

Kathleen M. Sullivan, an openly lesbian former Stanford Law School dean, is being mentioned as a possible nominee to replace Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court.

Sullivan's name appears on short lists of nominees published by both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

“Kathleen Sullivan is hands down one of the most qualified candidates,” said Equal Rep's founder Paul Sousa in a statement. Additionally, as a gay woman, Sullivan “would bring some much needed diversity to the Supreme Court,” Sousa said.

Justice Souter, 69, announced plans to retire at the end of the term in June on Friday. Reports indicate that he has grown disenchanted with Washington and yearns to return to his life in Concord, New Hampshire. Souter, who was nominated by the first George Bush, is considered a disappointment by conservatives for his liberal record.

Sullivan is one of America's leading scholars on constitutional law. She became the first female dean of any school at Stanford, taking over the Law School in 1999. In 2004, she stepped down from her post as dean to serve as the inaugural director of the Stanford Center on Constitutional Law.

Sullivan has filed “friend of the court” briefs in several high-profile Supreme Court cases dealing with gay rights, including the 1986 case that upheld the criminalization of being gay (Bowers v. Hardwick) and its antipode, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws 17 years later.

This is the fourth attempt by Boston-based Equal Rep to influence Obama to pick an openly gay candidate.

The group considers a lobbying campaign to pick openly gay Fred Hochberg as Secretary of Commerce after New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew himself from consideration a success, despite the fact that Hochberg did not land the job. The effort, however, might have tipped the decision to name Hochberg the first openly gay director of the Export-Import Bank.

But a failed effort to lobby the Obama transition team to consider Mary Beth Maxwell, an openly lesbian candidate, to the position of Secretary of Labor, ended the aspirations of gay rights leaders for a cabinet-level appointment. The group says it gathered over 1,200 confirmed Maxwell supporters. Instead, Obama picked California Representative Hilda Solis, a Democrat, for the job.

Obama also passed on an openly gay Secretary of the Navy nominee, William White.

The group is reaching out to supporters on social networking sites like Facebook and its own website at Participants are being asked to phone and email the White House office for three days starting May 20 in support of a Sullivan nomination.