Don your battle gear, because the fight over Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement is about to kick into full gear. A insider source has just revealed Obama’s short list has been winnowed and he’s expected to name a nominee as early as next week.
As the Washington Examiner reports:
President Obama is expected to name his replacement for the-late Justice Antonin Scalia as early as next week, just before the Senate leaves for its spring recess.
A source close to the process told the Washington Examiner that insiders expect a nominee Wednesday or Thursday. The short list of nominees has been winnowed to Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; Judge Sri Srinivasan of the same court; U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who serves in Washington, D.C.; Judge Jane Kelly of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis; and Judge Paul Watford of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
“I’m not in a position to confirm that anybody is actually under consideration by the White House … but certainly the three individuals you named are people that the president was proud to have appointed to the federal bench,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a reporter who asked about Garland, Kelly, Srinivasan. Obama elevated all but Garland to the federal bench.
“I can tell you that the process is ongoing … but I don’t have any updates for you in terms of whether or not he has talked to any of the potential nominees,” Earnest added.
A search of the White House visitors’ log, which only shows guests through Feb. 26, does not reveal any presidential meetings with any of the candidates. However, any face-to-face meeting with Obama is unlikely to have happened that early, and the log doesn’t list whom he speaks with on the phone.
As we’ve reported previously, Obama’s nomination of Scalia’s replacement is certain to spark a fierce debate in Congress. Republicans have argued Obama should not nominate anyone in this election year — that the next president should do so. Democrats insist it’s Obama’s “constitutional responsibility” (yeah, try not to laugh) to replace Scalia as soon as possible.
Never mind what Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer argued back in 2007 in the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency, that “We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances.” Or what Vice President Joe Biden argued back in 1992 — when George H.W. Bush was in his last year in office — that the president “not nominate a new Supreme Court justice “in the full throes of an election year.”
Anyone else feel like we’re in the “full throes of an election year” yet? President Obama’s decision to proceed with nominating Scalia’s replacement will only ensure added fuel to an already-fiery political landscape in this increasingly divided republic.
Let’s just hope Republicans hold onto their cojones (perhaps they might locate them first) and stand firm on this matter.
Here we go, folks!
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]