WASHINGTON – President Bush reviewed potential candidates for the Supreme Court (search) as he flew home Friday on Air Force One from the terrorism-interrupted summit of world leaders in Scotland.
Bush was to devote his Saturday radio address to the subject of terrorism and will make a speech on terrorism Monday in Quantico, Va. The War on Terror was the keystone theme of his re-election campaign and his strongest issue with voters.
Immediately upon landing, Bush flew by helicopter to downtown Washington and stopped at the British ambassador's residence to sign a condolence book for victims of Thursday's deadly subway and bus bombings in London (search).
"To those who suffered loss of life, we pray for God's blessing," the president said after signing the book. "For those injured, we pray for fast healing. The British people are steadfast and strong"
Monday's speech was scheduled before the London attacks, White House press secretary Scott McClellan (search) said. "The attacks that occurred in London give even more significance to the remarks."
On the return flight from Scotland, Bush discussed possible court nominees with White House Chief of Staff Andy Card. The president had pored over court material on his flight to Europe on Tuesday. The White House did not reveal who was on the list to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
On Tuesday, Bush is to meet at the White House with Senate leaders, Democrats as well as Republicans, to discuss the court vacancy. The group is to include Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on that panel.
McClellan said Bush's staff also was making consultative calls with senators.
McClellan declined to say whether Bush had talked with any of the candidates, saying he would not disclose details of the selection process.
Bush spent three days in Gleneagles, Scotland at the G-8 summit of leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Canada, Japan and the United States.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said he was contacted Friday by White House Counsel Harriet Miers, who sought his opinion on a replacement for O'Connor.
Conrad said he told Miers he would support Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for the post, if he is nominated. He also said he suggested the president nominate Kermit Bye, a North Dakota native who sits on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Bye's nomination would likely not have the support of conservatives. On Friday, the 8th Circuit, in an opinion he wrote, ruled that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is unconstitutional because it makes no exception for the health of the woman.
Card has contacted several other Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Charles Schumer of New York.