White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs caused a stir on Monday when he told reporters that he could not rule out the president announcing his pick for the United States Supreme Court this week.
But sources close to the administration relay that the White House is still finalizing the vetting and nomination processes and the likelihood remains that Obama will unveil his choice to replace Justice John Paul Stevens sometime early next week.
Gibbs comments during Monday's press briefing were, nevertheless, the most definitive timeframe offered by the administration yet in regard to filling the opening on the court. They also suggest that the White House has made measurable progress in narrowing down the field of potential SCOTUS picks.
Obama is known to have had three personal interviews with likely nominees, including Solicitor General Elena Kagan on Friday, and federal appeals judges Merrick Garland and Sidney Thomas earlier. A White House official told the Huffington Post on Tuesday that "there were serious conversations with other potential nominees" as well, but refused to answer whether those conversations were face to face.
The White House and allies in Congress have previously said they would like to use the timeframe for Sonia Sotomayor's nomination as a template for the next court pick. Sotomayor was nominated on May 26, suggesting that the administration is moving ahead of schedule this time around.
A look at the supposed SCOTUS frontrunners: