Before he tapped White House Counsel Harriett Miers for the Supreme Court, President Bush considered the four candidates for justice he interviewed before tapping John Roberts for the earlier vacancy as well as some other prospective justices who are so far unknown.
That’s what White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told us at both his morning and afternoon briefings of reporters.
One has to consider the process that culminated in Miers’ selection "a continuation of the first nomination process," said McClellan. He noted that the committee to review potential justices was the same: White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby," White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and Miers herself — mention of her name prompting veteran reporter Helen Thomas to query "Did she nominate herself?"
Although McClellan was not naming names, he did tell us that 12-to-15 candidates were "seriously considered," including six women, and that they came "from all walks of life." By that, the President’s top spokesman explained, he meant people who were not on the bench. (Miers herself is the first Supreme Court nominee in 34 years who has never been a judge).
In response to a question from Elizabeth Bumiller of the New York Times, McClellan said that the President considered the candidates he had interviewed prior to naming John Roberts to the court last month, plus "some additional ones." Pressed by Bumiller as to how many "additional ones," McClellan said he would "leave it at that." Bumiller and others have reported that, along with Roberts, the candidates the President personally interviewed for the first vacancy on the Supreme Court were Appellate Judges Edith Jones, Edith Clement, J. Harvie Wilkinson, and Michael Luttig.
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