May 17th, 2009
07:11 AM ET

Pres. Obama girds for Supreme Court fight

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/17/obama.supreme.court/art.souter.cnn.jpg caption="Justice David Souter is retiring and President Obama is expected to choose his replacement soon."]

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

President Obama has started arming for the possibility of a major Supreme Court nomination battle, pulling a longtime Democratic power player into the White House to help run the confirmation process, senior administration officials told CNN.

Stephanie Cutter is leaving the Treasury Department, where she has served as one of Secretary Timothy Geithner's most senior advisers during the financial crisis, to be the point person for mobilizing public support for Obama's pick to replace retiring Justice David Souter, three senior administration officials said.

Administration officials say Obama is likely to name Souter's replacement in late May or early June, before the president leaves for Egypt to deliver a speech to the Muslim world. Regardless of whom he picks, liberal and conservative activists are already bracing for an epic battle over the future of the high court.

Cutter will reprise the key behind-the-scenes role that Republican operative Steve Schmidt played for the Bush administration on the successful nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

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Filed under: Ed Henry • Supreme Court
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Jim M

    100% agreement with JVH.

    May 18, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  2. Dan Stewart

    Obama is a constitutional law expert, so I have faith he'll make a good call and pick someone who is smart, young and who will hopefully bring a little more diversity to the old white guys club.
    Watch the Republicans try and shoot down whoever Obama appoints as they carry on their campaign of no.

    May 18, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  3. Carol B. in MD

    Oh well. The last adminstration did whatever it felt like doing- opposition, common sense, and fairness, be damned. At least the current Prez. & admin. made the effort for a more cohesive, less polarized government. So now what's the argument? (We oppose this olive branch and attempt at compromise!? Do NOT appoint a moderate, fair-minded judge.) Oh yeah... how horrible.

    May 18, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    All this talk about the "political battle" over a supreme court nominee which is totally partisan in motivation is what ,in part, brings brings congress and especially the Senate into disrepute.
    The only issues should be:-
    1) Is he or she qualified either legally or intellectually to do the job.
    2) That there are no snakes hiding in the cupboard like unpaid Taxes or past criminal acts.
    Things like personal views on Abortion and gay rights or Gun laws, are not necessarily a guide as to how a particular case ( they are all different) that may come before the Court will be decided and bear in mind this individual is one of 9.
    It's like worrying that the Judges are all Catholics,or Muslims.They are there to "interpret the law" not to "Legislate"or make law thats up to the House and senate.
    Where they are tempted into Legislating the Obiter Dicta should request the House and Senate to legislate to find the balance between conflicting interests in the electorate and force the Legislative branch to do its Job,on the above "hot button issues".
    It is not simple but that's the politicians real job.

    May 18, 2009 at 1:26 am |