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Friday morning docket: ‘Epic battle’ awaits SCOTUS nominee

The next Supreme Court nominee will face an “epic battle” to get to the high court, no matter who the nominee is.

That is what the White House is expecting, according to U.S. News & World Report. White House officials have been talking with members of the Senate and also having small informal meetings with progressive groups to discuss candidates, reports CNN.

The three candidates still reportedly at the top of President Obama’s list are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 7th Circuit Judge Diane Wood and D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland. Kagan is reportedly the frontrunner.

Her potential nomination has already drawn criticism from some conservatives, who have taken aim at an email she sent as Dean of Harvard Law School blasting the military’s policy prohibiting open gay people from serving. In the email, Kagan criticized the university’s decision to allow military recruiters on campus despite the rule, which she said violated the university’s anti-discrimination policy.

But her nomination may draw criticism from progressives as well, based on part on her defense of the administration anti-terror policies as solicitor general.

“There’s a real concern about Solicitor General Kagan with respect to national security issues,” Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, told CNN. “I certainly can’t see anything that would lead me to believe that she would have a less expansive version of what executive power is than, certainly, the current form, and certainly with respect to how George Bush viewed it. So I think there’s a real concern for human rights groups, if Elena Kagan is on the court, how that Supreme Court would know expansive and illegal executive power when they see it, and what they would be able to do about it.”

Meanwhile, President Obama and Vice President Biden interviewed 9th Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas of Montana for the job, the Associated Press reports. The hour-long meeting at the White House yesterday is the first known formal interview of a Supreme Court candidate.

In other headlines:

Black pick unlikely: Lawmakers briefed on the nomination process said it is unlikely that Obama will advance a black nominee to the high court (The Hill)

‘We like judges!’:More than two-thirds of those surveyed in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said judicial experience is a positive quality for a Supreme Court nominee. But only 35 percent view experience outside the legal world as a positive. (Washington Post)

Business bankruptcies soar: The number of bankruptcies involving primarily business debts soared last year, according to figures released by the federal judiciary. (Lawyers USA)

New FDA device review policy: In an effort to streamline the premarket expert panel review process for medical devices, the Food and Drug Administration has announced changes in the way data and information is discussed during public hearings on devices under review. (Lawyers USA)

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