While the skirmish lines are forming in Congress over President Obama’s nomination of a successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – the president first will have to make his choice known before the battle can be joined.
Though Obama had not been expecting to make a Supreme Court nomination in the final months of his second term, Scalia’s death triggers a rigorous selection process that begins with an informal list of nominees this administration — and those before it — keep in the event of a sudden vacancy. Serious vetting only begins, however, when a vacancy occurs or is announced.
And Obama will have plenty of names from which to choose. While not an official “short list,” the following list of potential nominees is based on past nominations and discussions with sources, including government officials involved in the selections of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan: