The final three individuals said to be under consideration for the high court’s vacancy are Merrick Garland, Sri Srinivasan and Paul Watford.
WASHINGTON — President Obama is finalizing his decision on a Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia and appears to have narrowed his choice to three candidates, according to people with knowledge of the vetting process.
The final three judges under consideration are Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.; Sri Srinivasan, a judge on the same court; and Paul Watford, on the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Obama said this week that he wanted to make a decision quickly, and his announcement could come as early as next week, the sources said.
The three finalists bring a range of judicial and legal experience to the selection process.
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Srinivasan, 49, was born in India and, as a child, emigrated with his family to Kansas. A Stanford Law graduate, he would be the high court’s first Asian-American and first Hindu.
Srinivasan was nominated in May 2013 to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Senate confirmed Srinivasan, 97-0.
Merrick Garland, 63, was considered by President Obama for a previous Supreme Court vacancy. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from Harvard Law School.
During his time at the Justice Department, Garland supervised major cases, such as the prosecutions of Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in April 1997 and became chief judge in February 2013.
Watford, 48, grew up in Orange County, Calif., and graduated from the UCLA School of Law.
He worked for four years as an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles before joining the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, where he focused on appellate litigation in state and federal courts. He was appointed by Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in May 2012 after a Senate confirmation vote of 61-34.
The narrowing down to these three candidates was first reported by Reuters. The Obama administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Political groups stepped up their efforts Friday for what is shaping up to be an epic partisan battle over what is supposed to be the nonpartisan branch of the federal government. Senate Republicans have vowed to refuse to consider any nomination from Obama, saying the process should wait until the next president is elected.
Liberal groups are organizing petitions, scheduling news conferences and setting up seminars to pressure Senate Republicans to schedule a hearing on the president’s eventual nominee and allow a vote.
Ted Cruz, Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate, told his constituents in an email that he would not allow a vote.
“The stakes are too high to allow President Obama, in the waning months of his final term, to make a lifetime appointment that would reshape the Supreme Court for a generation,” Cruz wrote.