Ten days ago, the New York Times reported that the White House was vetting Jane Kelly, a former public defender and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals judge from Cedar Rapids, as a potential nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat of the late Antonin Scalia — the reason being that it could place additional pressure on Sen. Chuck Grassley to renege on his vow to not allow hearings on a nominee in his role as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee until a new president takes over next year.
But Kelly’s apparently not in the running any more. On Friday, Reuters reported that President Obama had narrowed his potential choices to three:
The White House has narrowed its search for a U.S. Supreme Court nominee to three federal appeals court judges, Sri Srinivasan, Merrick Garland and Paul Watford, a source familiar with the selection process said on Friday.
Srinivasan, an Indian-American who served under presidents of both parties before President Barack Obama named him as an appellate judge, and Garland, considered but passed over for the Supreme Court twice before by Obama, are considered the leading contenders, according to the source and two other sources close to the process.
Grassley, meanwhile, is still standing by his vow to hold no hearings for any Obama nominee and has said efforts to change his mind will not work. “We’re not going to drop any nominee into that election-year cauldron,” he said during a Judiciary Committee session Thursday. “I’m certainly not going to let it happen to the good people of Iowa.”