President Barack Obama made a round of phone calls beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday after deciding to nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, an administration official said today.
Obama first called Kagan to inform her that she had been selected. He then called Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and federal appellate Judges Merrick Garland, Sidney Thomas, and Diane Wood to inform them of his decision. All had been considered for the vacancy created by Justice John Paul Stevens’ decision to retire.
The final decision to nominate Kagan came late enough that, throughout the weekend, the White House’s confirmation team worked on plans to introduce any of multiple candidates, said the official, who was not authorized to speak for attribution.
The phone calls continued this morning, when Obama called and spoke with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). He also tried to reach Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican.
Obama interviewed four candidates, the official said: Garland, of the D.C. Circuit, on April 16; Thomas, of the 9th Circuit, on April 29, Kagan on April 30, and Wood, of the 7th Circuit, on May 4. Vice President Joe Biden had dinner with Garland in late March, breakfast with Kagan on April 27, an interview with Thomas on April 29, and an interview with Wood on May 4.
Obama and Biden discussed candidates over lunch last Tuesday and in the days that followed while Biden Traveled in Europe, the official said.