Obama Court choice could sail to approval

May 2, 2009 at 6:49 AM

WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will have little trouble getting a liberal choice for a new Supreme Court justice approved by the Senate, analysts say.

With Democrats holding 59 Senate seats, and perhaps 60 when the outcome of the Minnesota election is decided by the courts, Obama's choice to succeed the retiring Associate Justice David Souter has the potential to sail through the confirmation process, McClatchy News Service reported Saturday.

"The average voter looks and says, `Is this person qualified?'" said Thomas Keck, professor of constitutional law and politics at Syracuse University. "If he or she is, and doesn't appear crazy, they think they should be confirmed."

"It's safe to say that the president is in the position to get a mainstream liberal confirmed to the court fairly easily," Bradford Berenson, a former associate White House counsel to Bush who once clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, told McClatchy.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will likely include 11 Democrats and eight Republicans, with two of the most veteran conservatives, Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, both carrying reputations of working with Democrats, the news service said.

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