Hillary Clinton (D)
Orrin Hatch (R)
WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was mentioned Monday by a leading Republican as President Barack Obama's possible U.S. Supreme Court nominee to fill an upcoming vacancy on the high court.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an appearance on NBC's "Today" show that he has heard that Obama might tap Clinton to succeed retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.
"I even heard the name Hillary Clinton today, and that would be an interesting person in the mix," Hatch said.
While saying that he would not pre-judge a Clinton nomination, the senator offered praise of the former junior U.S. senator from New York and former first lady.
"I happen to like Hillary Clinton, I think she's done a good job for the Democrats (in the) secretary of state's position," Hatch said. "I have high respect for her, and think a great deal of her."
Among other possible judicial nominees is 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 its next term in October.
It will mark Obama's second pick to the Supreme Court in his first term. He appointed Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year.
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.