Politics

SCOTUS Watch: Gibbs on privacy on Supreme Court pick

In the White House briefing, Robert Gibbs was asked about being "private" in how the White House will select a pick for the  Supreme Court, and how congressional leaders will factor into the decision..

QUESTION: OK, privacy, how you all went along toward picking Vice President Biden, same with the cabinet. Do you believe that you will be able to maintain the same privacy in this selection of a -- of a Supreme Court justice? And is that the president's wish and desire?
GIBBS: Look, obviously, the -- I think the way the president conducted his vice presidential search and the way he conducted a search for a Cabinet was his strong desire not to drag names through and vet names through the public. The president, obviously, based on his understanding of the law, his understanding and teaching of the Constitution, and his studying of the Court, I think he has a pretty firm understanding of what he's looking for; somebody who understands and can apply the rule of law but also understand how the law applies to individuals' everyday lives.

I think he will be -- I think this is a -- a decision that he alone will make. I don't think that the lobbying of interest groups will help. I think, in many ways, lobbying can and will be counterproductive.

The president does take some heart in knowing that in all of the lists that have been seen and produced, there hasn't yet been one produced with the totality of name by which -- under which are being considered.

QUESTION: So in these meetings like the one that's tomorrow with Senate leaders, how do those go in a general sense since he already have an idea. Is he not running some names past people? Or is he mainly listening to what they're saying? And if he is running names past people, doesn't he run the risk of -- of this being not a private situation since the Hill is more involved in this than...

GIBBS: Well, look, I think -- not knowing exactly whether the president will, as you mentioned, run or vet names through -- through the senators that will visit tomorrow -- I mean, obviously, there was a previous question about the importance of the process and the timing. I think something that the president will want to discuss with the leadership and the member and ranking -- the -- the -- the chair and the ranking member of the relevant committee that will hear the confirmation hearings of a nominee.

So I think there's a healthy amount of process. And I think the president does want to pick the brain of these senators and others. As I've mentioned before in some of the conversations he's had, they have sent some -- some have sent names over to him to consider. And he's certainly happy to look at that.

But again, not knowing exactly what he'll say or do tomorrow, it's hard to say whether tomorrow will be him washing name through them. But I think there's enough consultation that the president desires to have happen and, certainly, a process that's going to govern this confirmation that he looks forward to hearing the views of Democrats and Republicans.