The president has been holding informal phone conversations with prospective court nominees, administration officials say, and will soon reach out to other senators for their input on his court selection. The meeting Wednesday with Senate majority leader Harry Reid, minority leader Mitch McConnell, Judiciary Committee chairman Pat Leahy, and the committee’s ranking Republican, Jeff Sessions, was not designed to be a name-floating session, but rather an opportunity to talk process.
The administration has made clear it hopes to confirm the new justice by the start of Congress’s August recess. Last year, now-Justice Sotomayor was nominated on May 26 and confirmed by the August recess.
Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring at the end of the current court term early this summer, and the White House wants to give the new justice time to prepare for the next term, which begins in October.