[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] is considering six possible nominees for the US Supreme Court [official website] to replace retiring Justice David Souter [JURIST report], including five women, the Associated Press reported [AP report] Thursday. This six names disclosed by White House officials are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, US Appeals Court judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Pamela Wood, and California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno [official profiles]. Other candidates are reportedly also being considered. Obama met with several Senators Wednesday and told them that he would review candidates over the weekend [Washington Post report], which has led to speculation that an announcement of a nominee could come early next week.
Last week, conservative Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was chosen by Senate Republicans to replace [JURIST report] newly-declared Democrat Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) as ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee [official websites]. Sessions will play a key role in questioning Obama's nominee. Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] has said that he hopes to have a replacement for Souter confirmed [JURIST report] by the beginning of the Court's 2009 term in October. When news of Souter's retirement first became public earlier this month, Obama said [JURIST report] he would, "seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity."