Politics - POSTED: 2009/05/12 10:21
President Barack Obama on Wednesday will meet with key Senate leaders from both parties as he moves closer to choosing a nominee to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.
The White House confirmed the meeting but said it did not indicate a finalization of the president's review process.
"I don't think we're at the point where the president says, `What do you think about these two people?'" White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told The Associated Press on Monday. "The president pledged very early on to consult broadly, and I think Wednesday's meeting does that."
Obama is to talk at the White House with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said the Republican leader hopes this is the start of the consultation process and that Obama "follows the lead of previous presidents and has many such meetings over the coming weeks before a nomination is announced."
The White House has ruled out that Obama will name his Supreme Court pick this week.
Souter is retiring in June, and Obama wants to have a nominee confirmed when the next Supreme Court session starts in October.