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Parties brace for battle over O'Connor replacement

[JURIST] Republicans and Democrats have begun bracing for the upcoming battle over who will replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [OYEZ biography] after she announced her retirement [JURIST report] from the court Friday. The debate is expected to be over a likely list of candidates including federal appellate judges John Roberts, Michael Luttig,, Harvie Wilkinson [judicial profiles], Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [DOJ profile], and former solicitor general Theodore Olson [DOJ profile]. AFP has more.

Senators and representatives from both parties have offered more reaction to the news of O'Connor's resignation and the upcoming nomination process. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) [official website] said, "As a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, I'll be looking forward to hearing from a nominee who understands that the role of the courts is to interpret the law, not create the law.'' House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi [official website] spoke for the other side saying: "Justice O'Connor played an indispensable and pivotal role in preserving our civil liberties and constitutional rights, including a woman's right to choose. As the president nominates a successor, he has an opportunity to unify the country by seeking meaningful consultation with legislators of both parties and choosing a respected nominee in the manner of Sandra Day O'Connor.'' AP has more.

Major media outlets are also offering advice. The Washington Post published an editorial [text] Saturday encouraging President Bush to choose a moderate replacement for Justice O'Connor saying, "It is not too much to ask of Mr. Bush that he work for consensus in replacing a justice who, in a very real sense, had come to represent a bridge between left and right." An editorial [text] by the New York Times expressed similar sentiments: "If he is thinking clearly, the president will understand how much he owes this quiet jurist who consistently looked for common ground. Perhaps he will also realize that the best way to repay the debt is to choose a replacement from the same mold."

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