Obama Will Not Announce Supreme Court Nominee Next Week

Posted May 8, 2009 at 3:39pm

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that President Barack Obama will not announce next week his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter.

Gibbs, who earlier this week had not ruled out a next-week announcement, appeared to be stepping back from his earlier eagerness for an expedited process. Gibbs on Friday noted that Obama is continuing to consult with Senators on the nomination and that everyone involved at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue wants a “judicious— process.

“We’re in the very beginning of this process, and obviously the Senate plays a tremendously important consultative role in this,— Gibbs said. Even so, White House officials have been eyeing Obama’s potential pick since even before the inauguration, and one contender — Solicitor General Elena Kagan — has already been fully vetted for the post she now holds.

Gibbs stressed that the paramount issue is to get someone seated by the time the high court convenes the first Monday in October, suggesting the White House is otherwise flexible on the process.

“Whether that’s done before the August recess, whether that’s done in September is less important to ensuring that we get something in place for the next term,— he said.