White House quashes rumor of Clinton Supreme Court nomination

Chris Rizo Apr. 12, 2010, 2:40pm

Barack Obama (D)

Hillary Clinton (D)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-U.S. President Barack Obama is not planning to nominate Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court, the White House said Monday.

Speaking to reporters, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Clinton is not a possible judicial nominee to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

"I think the president is going to keep her as secretary of state," Gibbs said, responding to comments earlier in the day from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that Clinton is a possible nominee.

"I even heard the name Hillary Clinton today, and that would be an interesting person in the mix," Hatch said Monday in an appearance on NBC's "Today Show." "I happen to like Hillary Clinton; I think she's done a good job .... And I have high respect for her, and think a great deal of her."

Gibbs said the White House is working to name a nominee in time for the jurist to be seated for the high court's new term in October. He declined to name possible nominees.

Widely believed to be on the president's short-list of possible picks are District of Columbia federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Chicago-based federal appeals court Judge Diane Wood.

Also appearing on the Today program was Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said it is possible for Obama's pick to the Supreme Court to be confirmed this summer and seated on the court in time for the court's new term.

Stevens announced Friday he will retire from the bench this summer, after serving 34 years on the nation's highest court.

Stevens, 89, is the U.S. Supreme Court's oldest member and a reliably liberal vote. He is the second oldest justice in U.S. history and fourth longest-serving. He was nominated to the high court in 1975 by Republican President Gerald Ford.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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