President Obama could reveal his pick for the Supreme Court as early as Wednesday, a source close to the selection process told Reuters on Tuesday.
According to the source, Obama is choosing between Judge Sri Srinivasan and Judge Merrick Garland.
The group of advisers assisting Obama in vetting the candidates wrapped up its work Tuesday, Reuters reported.
If the report is true, it could make it very difficult for Republicans to hold true to their pledge to hold no confirmation hearings for the pick.
Both candidates are highly respected by judicial experts and carry strong bipartisan appeal.
Srinivasan gained national prominence in 2009 after representing former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling to the Supreme Court, and was later confirmed to United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2013 in a 97-0 vote. When his nomination was before the Senate, Srinivasan received letters of support from solicitors general in both the Clinton and Bush administrations.
“There really is no good reason not to confirm Sri — and no good reason after his hearing not to give him a speedy vote,” Walter E. Dellinger III, the acting solicitor general under the Clinton administration, told the New York Times during the nomination process for the appellate court post in 2013.
Srinivasan also also clerked for the conservative appeals court judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III as well as Sandra Day O’Connor — both of whom were appointed by Ronald Reagan. The 49-year-old judge was born in India and raised in Kansas, and would be the first Asian-American appointed to the Supreme Court.
“Generally speaking, Srinivasan seems to be as moderate a judge as Republicans could expect a Democratic president to nominate,” Tom Goldstein, the publisher of SCOTUSblog wrote after analysing Srinivasan’s rulings. “His views seem to be solidly in the center of American legal thought.”
Meanwhile, Judge Garland is known for his centrist leanings and was nominated to the D.C. Circuit, where he now serves as chief judge, by Bill Clinton in 1997.
Garland was a magna cum laude Harvard Law School graduate, served as a clerk for liberal Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr., was a partner at a prestigious Washington law firm, before making his mark on the Justice Department.
“He’s pretty unassailable from a reputational standpoint,” a source close to the selection process told The Washington Post.
Garland was previously considered for the Supreme Court seat that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was selected for in 2010.
At the time, Republican Senator Orrin G. Hatch told Reuters that Garland was “a consensus nominee,” who would win Senate confirmation with bipartisan support without a problem.
“[Garland] would be very well supported by all sides [as a Supreme Court nominee] and the president knows that,” Hatch said in 2010.
A senior Clinton administration official expressed a similar opinion.
“He’s widely revered on both sides of the aisle. If the White House is looking to get somebody through . . . he would be a great candidate,” Michael Greenberger, a senior Justice Department official in the Clinton administration, told The Washington Post.
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