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Bush discusses
filling Supreme Court vacancy

Bush discusses
filling Supreme Court vacancy


The president, shadowed in Europe by a pressing concern back in Washington, says he will not select a nominee based on his or her views on hot-button political issues.

President Bush, shadowed in Europe by a pressing concern back in Washington, said Wednesday he will not select a Supreme Court nominee based on his or her views on abortion or other hot-button political issues. He urged senators to act "in a dignified way" in what is expected to be an intense battle over confirming his first nominee to the nation's highest court. Bush made his fourth trip to Europe this year just days after Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement. The president said that as he reviews candidates to replace her, "I'll try to assess their character, their interests." Bush said he would have no "litmus test" that disqualifies candidates because of their opinions on abortion and same-sex marriage. "I'll pick people who, one, can do the job, and people who are honest, people who are bright, and people who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not use the bench to legislate from," Bush said. Bush spent a few hours reviewing material on more than a half dozen potential replacements for O'Connor on the flight to Denmark. He has said he will spend a few weeks narrowing a list of candidates and then interviewing some, and his goal is to see a new justice in place by the time the court begins its new term in October. "I will take my time," Bush said. "I will be thorough in my investigation." Bush bristled at criticism of Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, a longtime friend who is often mentioned as a potential nominee for the high court. Conservatives said they aren't convinced Gonzales's beliefs on affirmative action and abortion are far enough to the right for their liking. "I don't like it when a friend gets criticized," Bush said. "I'm loyal to my friends. "And all the sudden this fella, who is a good public servant and a really fine person, is under fire," Bush said. "And so do I like it? No, I don't like it. At all." Bush thanked Denmark for the several hundred troops it has contributed to the U.S.-led fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP)

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