Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Obama picks hispanic woman for court

President Barack Obama announced Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the Supreme Court this morning.

Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic named to the court and would increase the number of women currently sitting on the court to two.

A reading of the tea leaves — via the presidential and vice presidential schedules — had increased chatter this morning that President Barack Obama could announce his nominee for the Supreme Court as soon as today.

USA/Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are in town — at least for the morning — today before heading west on separate trips. Obama leaves the White House at 4 pm for Las Vegas where he will attend a fundraiser for Senate majority leader Harry Reid before going to California until Thursday. Biden is around for a bit before heading to Denver to host the Middle Class Task Force and talk about green economy jobs.

Obama had been considering a short list of mostly women for a seat on the nine-member, male-dominated high court. The pick is unlikely to change the ideological makeup of the court since Obama is expected to pick a liberal like Justice David Souter, who announced his resignation on May 1.

Napolitano on court speculation: ‘I have a job’

OBAMA/Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has ended up on many media lists speculating about potential Supreme Court nominees,  says she is not looking for a new job.

At a news conference to introduce the new head of FEMA and talk about hurricane preparedness — the season starts June 1 — the former governor of Arizona was asked about the chatter that she may be a contender for the vacancy of retiring Justice David Souter.

“I have a job,” Napolitano said.

“And as you can tell from this press conference it’s a pretty big one,” she said to the reporters gathered in the FEMA press room. “I’m not looking for another job.”

Obama visits Supreme Court that he could reshape

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama has lunched at the White House and paid his respects to Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday it was the turn of the judiciary.    OBAMA/

Obama visited the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land that he could reshape after becoming president next week.Obama, who has vowed to name judges with empathy for ordinary people, met privately for one hour with Chief Justice John Roberts and seven other justices.

There were no details of the meeting and tour, which included Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

The First Draft: Friday, Nov. 5

Detroit CEOs drive their hybrid cars over to the House of Representatives for another serving of humble pie this morning. But it’s still not clear if they’ll get the $34 billion bailout they’re looking for, as several senators remained skeptical after yesterday’s testimony on that side of the Capitol. 
Testimony before the House Financial Services Committee begins at 9:30 a.m. 

The last outstanding Senate race may finally reach a resolution today, as Minnesota could complete its recount in the contest between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. 

But any resolution will be preliminary: there are still about 6,000 ballots that have been challenged and will need further review.

Biden pulls U.S. Supreme Court card in election fight

DENVER – Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden is urging voters to think about what type of justices they want on the U.S. Supreme Court before they decide who they want in the White House.rtr21p7h.jpg

Biden said U.S. President George W. Bush’s two conservative appointees — Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito — have pushed the nation’s highest court far to the right.

This, Biden charged, has threatened civil liberties and set back efforts to desegregate schools and obtain equal pay for women.