Obama Interviewed Sotomayor Thursday
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama interviewed Judge Sonia Sotomayor for an hour in the Oval Office last Thursday, White House officials said. In all, the judge spent seven hours at the White House, talking with advisers who were in charge of helping Obama make the critical decision on his first Supreme Court nominee.
The president interviewed three others to replace Justice David H. Souter: Judge Diane P. Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a senior White House official said. Wood and Kagan met with Obama last Tuesday. Napolitano met with the president on Thursday.
The advisers, who declined to speak on the record, said Obama had indicated to them after the interviews that he had an inclination of who he would pick, but said he wanted to think about the choice over the long Memorial Day weekend.
They said he was in his study in the East Wing of the White House when he informed them of his decision at around 8 p.m. Monday night. He called Sotomayor to inform her of his choice, and then called the other three, the officials said.
This morning, Obama called Sens. Pat Leahy, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid and Jeff Sessions to inform them of his choice.
The effort to confirm Sotomayor will be led inside the White House by Cynthia Hogan, the chief counsel to Vice President Biden. Officials described her as a veteran of the process and said Biden -- as a former chair of the judiciary committee -- and his chief of
staff, Ron Klain, will also play key roles.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is Sotomayor's senator, will play a key role in introducing her to his colleagues, officials said.
Asked about the establishment of a "war room" to push her through, one senior official said "I hesitate to use the term 'war room' because we're not anticipating a war." But aides said they expect Republicans not to delay the nomination unfairly.
Posted at 12:38 PM ET on May 26, 2009
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