Bush’s 2nd Supreme Court Pick Expected Soon

President Bush’s second Supreme Court pick is likely to come later this week. While some of the candidates mentioned are the same as the last go-round, there are some surprising new names on the list.

High Court Selection Process Winds Down (AP)

President Bush, close to nominating a successor to retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, has narrowed his list to a handful of candidates that outside advisers say includes federal judges and two people who have never banged a gavel _ corporate attorney Larry Thompson and White House counsel Harriet Miers. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Tuesday that Bush had pledged to consult with senators about his selection and said, “I think we were essentially wrapping that process up as early as today.” He declined to say if the president had interviewed any candidates and wouldn’t speculate about Bush’s favorites, but legal analysts monitoring the selection process say others often mentioned are federal appellate judges Alice Batchelder, J. Michael Luttig, Edith Jones, J. Harvie Wilkinson, Priscilla Owen, Samuel Alito, Karen Williams and Michael McConnell. Also said to be on the list are Maura Corrigan, a judge on the Michigan Supreme Court, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Bush is expected to announce his nominee quickly after Thursday’s anticipated confirmation and swearing in of John Roberts as chief justice. Bush on Monday hinted he might choose a woman or minority member. But some outside advisers were intrigued by another part of Bush’s reply. The president said he had interviewed and considered people from “all walks of life.”

That raised speculation that Bush was actively considering people who were not on the bench _ such as Miers, a Texas lawyer and the president’s former personal attorney, and Thompson, a counsel at PepsiCo, who was the federal government’s highest ranking black law enforcement official when he was deputy attorney general during Bush’s first term. “It could be someone outside of the legal judicial field like a Larry Thompson, or it could be a senator,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a public interest legal group founded by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson.

Given the tenor of the Senate, I don’t expect Bush to make any “exciting” picks. My guess is that we’ll see someone very much like John Roberts: a well-qualified conservative but not a Scalia-type firebrand.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.