USSC nomination happening today?

Th AP via the WaPo is reporting that it’s entirely possible, and there’s a buzz (of course) going around as to who the nominee may be:

President Bush is close to making his first nomination to the Supreme Court, and Washington was abuzz with speculation Tuesday about Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

There was no word from the White House on when Bush would disclose his selection but officials familiar with the process said it appeared an announcement was imminent. No one claimed to have been told the name by Bush, but Republican strategists and others focused on Clement, a 57-year-old jurist who was confirmed on a 99-0 vote by the Senate when she was elevated to the appeals court in 2001.

“My desire is to get this process moving so that someone will be confirmed – whoever he or she is – will be confirmed by October” when the court reconvenes,” Bush said Monday.

White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the process, said Bush’s timetable appears to have been accelerated and that a choice could come as early as Tuesday.

Known as a conservative and a strict constructionist in legal circles, Clement also has eased fears among abortion-rights advocates. She has stated that the Supreme Court “has clearly held that the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to have an abortion” and that “the law is settled in that regard.”

Here’s more on Judge Brown:

Edith Brown Clement, 57, is a judge on the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Clement was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1991 and was elevated to her current post by the current President Bush in 2001.

Clement, a graduate of the University of Alabama and Tulane University Law School, worked as a lawyer in private practice in New Orleans for 16 years before beginning her tenure on the federal bench. She specialized in civil litigation involving maritime law, representing oil companies, insurance companies and the marine services industry in cases before federal courts. She is a member of the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal organization.

As a district judge, Clement presided over such high-profile cases as the 2000 trials of former Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards (D) and former state insurance commissioner Jim Brown (D) on fraud charges. Edwards was acquitted; Brown was convicted of lying to the FBI and sentenced to six months in prison.

Lawyers who know Clement or have tried cases before her describe her as a judicial conservative who leans toward the defense in civil cases, and as a no-nonsense judge who is strict about deadlines and insists on professionalism from lawyers.

Analysts say Clement has not attracted attention for her judicial opinions, so it is unclear which of her decisions, if any, might become the focus of a confirmation battle.

Sounds as though she may pass the abortion litmus test as far as the Dems are concerned, but we’ll see. If there’s something to be found in her record, they’ll dig it up. Or perhaps a confirmation hearing question will be: “Based on what you know about Karl Rove’s role in the leak of Valerie Plame’s name, would you rule to find him innocent or guilty?”

More: Donald Luskin updates us on the latest Tradesports odds on Clement getting the nomination.

Late morning/early afternooon update: Joe Gandelman discusses past, present, and future blogger commentary on whoever the USSC nominee may be. Michelle Malkin has a roundup of links.

Midafternoon update: Captain Ed and John Hawkins have more.

**Evening Update**: Please see this post for the latest developments.

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