Granholm Says Obama ‘Wise’ to Look Outside Bench

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm said the Obama administration is “very wise” to consider people with expertise outside the “judicial monastery” for the next Supreme Court opening.

“I’m from the most challenged state in the country,” Granholm said today on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “For somebody to experience and see what everyday people are feeling and experiencing out there, I think is an important thing to consider.”

President Barack Obama said April 21 he plans to announce a nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens by the end of next month and will seek a candidate who values individual rights and privacy when ruling on cases. Stevens, 90, announced April 9 that he will retire when the court finishes its term around the end of June.

Granholm, a Democrat, said she was vetted last time Obama filled a Supreme Court seat, for which he chose Sonia Sotomayor. She is now among those being considered to replace Stevens.

“It’s a great honor to be on -- considered on the list,” Granholm said. “But there are a lot of great people who are on the list.”

She cited Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as an example of “people that have applied the laws that Congress enacts, that have seen their impact on people.”

Filibuster ‘Unlikely’

The president’s nominee must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A Republican-led filibuster to block the nominee is unlikely, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said today on “Fox News Sunday.”

A filibuster “remains a possibility” but is “highly unlikely, however, unless the nominee is an extraordinary individual outside the mainstream with really bizarre views,” McConnell said.

“I’ve never filibustered a Supreme Court nominee,” he said. “It would take an unusual nominee to justify that.”

McConnell declined to say who he would like to see picked.

“I don’t want to eliminate somebody’s possibility of being on the Supreme Court by suggesting that I might find them a worthy selection,” he said. “I think it would not do them any good.”

Obama discussed the court vacancy on April 21 at the White House with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the Democrat who heads the Judiciary Committee, and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, the senior Republican on the panel. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and McConnell also attended the meeting.

Other Candidates

Candidates include U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appellate judges Diane Wood in Chicago and Merrick Garland in Washington. All were considered for the Supreme Court vacancy Obama filled last year with Sonia Sotomayor.

Other potential court nominees include federal appellate judge Sidney Thomas; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears; Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow; and Judge Ann Williams of the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.

To contact the reporters on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net; Ian Katz in Washington at ikatz2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim Kirk at jkirk12@bloomberg.net.

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