DC rumor mill: Prez has narrowed down USSC choices

Appeals court judges Michael Luttig and Samuel Alito are rumored to be on the list of strong possibilities:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush on Saturday was narrowing his choices of Supreme Court nominees to replace Harriet Miers as Republicans said the short list consisted of highly credentialed, solidly conservative judges.

Among the candidates most talked about were appeals court judges Michael Luttig and Samuel Alito. Bush, who is spending the weekend at his Camp David retreat, was expected to unveil his choice within days.

FYI, here’s more on Judge Michael Luttig (see here as well) and Samuel Alito …. even more on Alito here:

Nicknamed “Scalito” for views resembling those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. is a favorite son of the political right. Appointed in 1990 by George H.W. Bush to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and polite but frequent dissent in a court that has been historically liberal. His mettle, as well as a personable demeanor and ties to former Republican administrations, has long had observers buzzing about his potential rise to the high court. “Sam Alito is in my mind the strongest candidate on the list,” says Pepperdine law Prof. Douglas Kmiec. “I know them all . . . but I think Sam is a standout because he’s a judge’s judge. He approaches cases with impartiality and open-mindedness.”

The Reuters article went on to report:

A source close to the selection process who spoke on condition of anonymity said avoiding a battle with Democrats, who have warned Bush about picking a right-wing activist, would not be the president’s top priority.

Luttig, 51, a judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, worked as a clerk for Scalia when Scalia was an appeals court judge.

He helped in the effort to get Thomas and Supreme Court Justice David Souter — both nominated to the high court by Bush’s father — confirmed by the Senate. Luttig also has worked in the Justice Department and private practice.

Alito, 55, is sometimes given the nickname “Scalito” — a comparison to Scalia, who shares his Italian heritage as well as his reputation for conservatism and a strong intellect. He is a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

I’m betting the nomination is announced tomorrow.

Hat tip: Rob at Say Anything.

(Cross-posted at Blogs For Bush)

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