By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
As he starts interviewing candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court opening, President Obama has been reaching out to Republican senators to solicit their views, according to GOP officials. Sen. John Cornyn today confirmed that the president buzzed him this week "to take the temperature on this." An administration official said: "The president has called all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to solicit their advice about the Supreme Court nomination and the confirmation process." In the calls, welcomed by the GOP, the president is not making any commitments, and Republicans aren't offering potential names. But there has been a sense from the GOP side that the president is interested in a speedy nomination and confirmation and one without a bloody fight. Republicans say that should Obama pick a "mainstream" judge to replace the retiring David Souter, it's likely confirmation could come in about three months. The confirmation of former President Bush's nomination of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, which took 72 days, is the example both sides are aiming to copy. But the Republicans have warned the president that picking a left-leaning judge and then trying to jam the confirmation through the Democratic-dominated Senate would provoke a prolonged battle.
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