Saturday, July 16, 2005

SCOTUS Watch: WaPo's Short-List

In a front-page article this morning, the Washington Post's Peter Baker writes that "President Bush's advisers are focusing the search for a Supreme Court nominee to see if there is an acceptable female or minority legal figure to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor," and that the White House has been "moving in that direction for several days."

Citing "strategists," Baker says that the chances of Alberto Gonzales and Emilio Garza (5th Circuit Court of Appeals) seem to have diminished slightly in recent days, as the stock of former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson has risen.

Also mentioned as possible candidates: Michigan Supreme Court judges Robert P. Young, Jr. and Maura D. Corrigan; Edith Hollan Jones and Edith Brown Clement (also from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals); Alice M. Batchelder (6th Circuit); Deanell Reece Tacha (10th Circuit); Karen J. Williams (4th Circuit); and Mary Ann Glendon, a professor at Harvard Law School.

Baker notes "It remains difficult to assess how serious the current attention on women and minorities actually is, particularly because the White House has closely held its deliberations. Sometimes during a high-profile selection process such as this, names are floated to flatter certain individuals and their powerful patrons or to massage important constituencies. But the White House has sent signals that have raised expectations in recent days, leading some outside advisers to conclude that Bush wants to name a woman or a member of a minority group."

Where do things really stand with the White House's thinking on a nomination? Well, I guess that's for the president to know, and us to find out. There are some who think that since Chief Justice Rehnquist is staying on, for now, the president will move up the announcement of his nominee into next week, but there has been no indication of that from the White House yet.


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