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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bush to Meet With Senators Over Second Vacancy on Court - New York Times

Bush to Meet With Senators Over Second Vacancy on Court - New York TimesSeptember 17, 2005
Bush to Meet With Senators Over Second Vacancy on Court

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 - President Bush plans to meet Wednesday with Republican and Democratic Senate leaders about filling the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Senate aides from both parties said.

Mr. Bush has said he plans to move quickly to nominate a successor to Justice O'Connor, a pivotal swing vote on the court. But conservative allies of the White House say they do not expect him to select someone until the full Senate votes on the confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice later this month. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the Roberts nomination on Thursday. Justice O'Connor has said she will continue to sit with the court until her replacement is confirmed.

Senate aides said Mr. Bush has invited Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the committee's ranking Democratic member, as well as Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.

Senate Democrats have sent letters to the White House urging the president to consider their views more thoroughly than he did before picking Judge Roberts. Mr. Reid has said he will oppose as too conservative some of the candidates reported to be under consideration by the president. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the longest-serving Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, has offered his suggestions for prospective nominees.

Mr. Bush previously met with Democratic and Republican senators before he nominated Judge Roberts. Democratic aides say Mr. Bush listened to their suggestions but did not seek their views on specific names under consideration.

His choice of Judge Roberts, who was initially picked to succeed Justice O'Connor and then re-nominated to be chief justice after the death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, came as a surprise to senators on both sides of the aisle.

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