Obama Supreme Court pick could come this week

* Kagan, Wood, Garland among favorites

* Republicans have voiced few objections

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON, May 4 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama could
announce his second nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court as soon
as this week, administration officials said, although they
declined on Tuesday to say how many names were left on his
short list of candidates.

Obama has been expected to decide quickly on who he would
like to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Justice John
Paul Stevens, with critical congressional elections looming in
November.

Elena Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general; Diane Wood, a U.S.
appeals court judge in Chicago; Merrick Garland, an appeals
court judge in Washington, D.C.; and Sidney Thomas, an appeals
court judge in San Francisco, are the four names most generally
considered as favorites for the pick.

Administration officials have confirmed that all are on
Obama’s short list of candidates, and that Obama has
interviewed at least some of them in person. They had said the
short list included about 10 names.

Stevens is the Supreme Court’s leading liberal. The
Democratic president’s pick is not expected to shift the
ideological balance of the closely divided court, which now has
five conservatives and four liberals.

Republicans have had little to say about any of Obama’s
potential picks since Stevens announced his retirement last
month, which could be a sign that there will not be an intense
confirmation battle on Capitol Hill.

White House officials had said they expected a tough
confirmation fight with Republicans in Congress, no matter whom
Obama nominates.

Stevens is known as a consensus builder whose intellect and
persuasiveness have in some cases helped move the
conservative-leaning court toward his opinions.

Administration officials say Obama is seeking a liberal of
intellectual heft who also possesses consensus-building
skills.

Obama has said he wants to announce his pick by the end of
May, so the confirmation process can be finished in time for
the new justice. He announced his first Supreme Court nominee,
then-appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, on May 26, 2009, and
she was confirmed in early August.

Other names on Obama’s short list are: Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano; Martha Minow, the dean of Harvard
Law School; Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm; Ann Claire
Williams, a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and
Leah Ward Sears, who retired last year as chief justice of the
Supreme Court of Georgia.

Stock Today

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

Obama Supreme Court pick could come this week