Monday, July 18, 2005

SCOTUS Watch: Nomination Process Updates

This is going to be less exhaustive that I had originally intended, but I wanted to get a few new links out to you all before the morning on where things "seem" to stand now on the state of the Supreme Court nomination.

As the Washington Post noted this morning, there is a chance that President Bush may announce his choice for the Supreme Court as soon as this week. Today, at a press conference with the Indian Prime Minister, Bush said that he's planning to hold interviews with some short-list candidates. "I will sit down with some and talk to them face to face, those who I have not known already," said the president. "You know, we've got some people that [are] perhaps in contention that I've already spent time with, that I know. ... And so I don't need to interview those."

Bush gave no indication of those candidates he intends to interview or of which he feels comfortable not interviewing. The Post suggests in Tuesday editions, citing "Republican strategists with close ties to the White House," that Bush will hold those interviews on Tuesday and announce his pick before the end of this week.

The Post will also profile the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals tomorrow, noting that five of its members (Edith Jones, Edith Clement, Emilio Garza, Priscilla Owen and Edward Prado) are believed to be among those under at least long-list consideration for the Court. Others they say whose names are still being circulated: Gonzales, Luttig, Roberts, and Thompson.

If a report in The Hill today can be believed, Gonzales' name has been removed from contention: Alexander Bolton reports that "White House officials have assured select conservative leaders that they will not nominate" Gonzales to the Court right now. According to those officials, Bush is looking most closely at the Ediths (Jones and Clement), Maura Corrigan or Priscilla Owen.

Bolton's account and others out tonight suggest that the White House has decided to speed up the timetable on a nomination in order to suck some of the oxygen out of the Karl Rove story. Of course I would rather the president took his time and seriously interviewed candidates so that we get the best one, not shoving someone forward to distract an on-the-scent press corps. But, as he made clear today, he's the guy who picks, and the rest of us just have to wait, and hope.

[Update: Some buzz from RedState tonight, suggesting that "the Ediths" are leading the pack, and that Clement may have drawn in front. Erick over there reports that Senator Specter "was seen at the White House tonight," and I did notice that the senator is not on the guest list for the state dinner with the Indian Prime Minister, so that could mean something. Or not, we know how good rumors have been lately. -- 11:05 p.m.]

[Update: In the New York Times Tuesday, "
Republicans close to the White House said that a leading candidate to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was Judge Edith Brown Clement ... A Republican with close ties to the administration said that Judge Clement was interviewed as a potential nominee at the White House about a month ago," although it is not clear whether the president himself has interviewed Clement. The article goes on to say that Clement as "an edge" in the process at the moment. -- 11:32 p.m.]


At 10:59 PM, Blogger Gerry said...

I imagine that he has had his nominee in mind for quite a while, and has been dotting his i's and crossing his t's (yeah, I know the apostrophes are probably wrong, but is looked wrong) while looking for the most advantageous time to make the nomination.

He's been saying all along he wants whoever it is confirmed by the start of the session, so that would have meant a nominee by the end of the month, which is only 10 days away. The timing feels right.


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