- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 5, 2005

COPENHAGEN — President Bush will pick a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court “in a few weeks,” likely pushing his decision well into Congress’ August recess when the political heat will be less intense.

Mr. Bush spent a quarter of his eight-hour flight to Denmark going over information about a half-dozen candidates to take the seat of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired last week.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan would not say who the president has on his shortlist, but he is consulting with high-level staffers and has reached out to members of the Senate, which will have to approve his nominee.

“He’s going to home in on a handful of potential nominees over the next few weeks,” Mr. McClellan said. “He’s committed to moving forward in a timely manner.”

Mr. McClellan said Mr. Bush was reviewing background information on the judicial decisions of his potential nominees, as well as information on their personal lives — something the White House must know well to prepare for a Supreme Court fight that is likely to get personal if history is any guide.

The administration wants to avoid the protracted and ugly fights that President Reagan experienced with conservative jurist Robert Bork, who was rejected by the Senate, and the struggle Mr. Bush’s father endured to get Clarence Thomas on the high court.

“The president will appoint someone that we can all be proud of, and he urges the Senate to work together and elevate the discourse and move forward on a dignified process,” Mr. McClellan said

Mr. McClellan said he would not speculate whether the research Mr. Bush is conducting will be useful if a second opening on the Supreme Court comes soon. Many have speculated that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who is battling thyroid cancer, might announce his retirement soon.

Mr. Bush arrived in Copenhagen last night for a 16-hour stay on the eve of the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, to thank one of his most loyal supporters in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has pledged to keep his troops in Iraq through February, will share breakfast and a public appearance with Mr. Bush this morning.

The president arrives in Scotland today talking of unprecedented commitments of aid to Africa, a subject host Prime Minister Tony Blair has made a main topic of the summit.

The other is global warming, a normally contentious issue that the White House says it is close to bridging.

National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley said, “The debate is moving beyond” the Kyoto treaty, which the U.S. never came close to ratifying and has proven unenforceable in the European countries that did.

“What we’re trying to do at this G-8 is not to have either side walk away from their fundamental approach to the climate issue, but to try to define where the common ground is, and use this G-8 as an opportunity to bring unity on an issue that’s been a source of division,” he said.

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