The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 1, 2005

Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Mr. McClellan's Office

11:55 A.M. EDT

MR. McCLELLAN: Good morning, everybody -- good morning a second time, to some of you all. Let me walk through the tick-tock of the day and probably start back with yesterday.

Yesterday morning the Head Marshal of the United States Supreme Court, Pamela Talkin* -- excuse me, I don't have her spelling, but I'm sure you all can get that -- called Harriet Miers and told her that she had something to deliver to her, and that she would be arranging for the Supreme Court to bring her to the White House this morning, Friday morning. And she called Harriet to ask her if she'd be available to accept what she had to deliver. She did not specify what it was, beyond the fact that she had a sealed envelope and that she needed to deliver it and that she would do so today.

At that point -- and this was -- this would have been shortly before noon yesterday. At that point, Harriet spoke with Andy Card and then informed the President and Vice President, who were having their weekly lunch in the President's dining room off of the Oval Office.

Q Card, you say, did that?

Q Card or Harriet?

MR. McCLELLAN: Harriet did.

Q Who --

MR. McCLELLAN: The President and Vice President, they were having --

Q Was it just that a letter was coming -


Q -- from O'Connor.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. No, no, no, no, no, no.

Q From the --

MR. McCLELLAN: No. We didn't know; yes, that's correct.

Q Back up. You said Harriet spoke to Andy, and Andy told the President about --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, Harriet did. And then later in the day, probably around mid-afternoon, Harriet had called the marshal back just to talk to her about logistics, about how to deliver it and things of that nature. And that was a conversation they had mid-afternoon.

And then this morning Harriet called her and, at that point, the marshal said that she now had the authority to say that this letter was in reference to Justice O'Connor. And this would have been -- this was before 9:00 a.m. this morning when they spoke.

Q So all day yesterday you knew that there was a letter coming, but not who it was from?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct. That's correct. And I'm not sure whether or not the marshal knew, because it was a sealed envelope -- but then this morning she informed Harriet she had the authority to say that it was in reference to Justice O'Connor.

Q And when --

MR. McCLELLAN: This was before 9:00 a.m. this morning. And then Harriet had called down to the Oval Office to talk to the President. He wasn't immediately available; he called her back. And right around 9:00 a.m. -- this was just before 9:00 a.m. -- at that time the President then met briefly back in the private dining room area with the Vice President, Karl and Dan, to inform them and talk to them.

And then the President had some policy time, economic policy time with staff in the Oval Office. And then he had some departure photos for staff that is leaving various offices.

And then at 10:18 a.m. the President spoke with Justice O'Connor -- and, you know, he described it as an emotional call. The President said, "You are one of the great Americans." They were having conversation back and forth. The President said, "I wish I was there to hug you." He talked about how she was someone of great integrity and he said it was an honor to talk to her -- these aren't exact quotes now --

Q So she was crying? You said it was emotional --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it was emotional, but, I mean, I think you'd have to ask -- I mean, that was the other end of the phone conversation, so you'd have to talk to her.

Q Where did he receive that call? Where was that call --

MR. McCLELLAN: I assume she was at the Court. I can double-check that, but I assume she was still at -- I'll have to double-check that.**

Q He was in the Oval?

MR. McCLELLAN: He's in the Oval Office, yes.

Q She called in the middle of it?

Q He called her?

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, it was arranged. I mean -- so it was an arranged call, but --

Q So he called her?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q The call --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll see. I'll see if we can get something out on that.

Q Did the President call or did she?

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, the call was arranged for them to talk, so --

Q How long was the call?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, and he said, "You cannot believe how much Laura and I admire you." That's a quote. He talked about how she was a fabulous person. And he said, "For an old ranching girl, you turned out pretty good." As you all know, she's from -- she's from El Paso, Texas.

Q And that's a compliment, right? (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: And there was -- well, and there was laughter like you just heard. (Laughter.)

Q Rancher girl or ranching? Rancher or ranching?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ranching.

Q "For an old ranching girl you turned out pretty good." (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's keep going. I'm supposed to be over at this lunch, and I'm a little bit late.

Q Are you looking for another old ranching girl to replace her? (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: At approximately 10:30 a.m., the President had his first meeting with his advisors post her announcement. This was in the Oval Office. It included the Vice President, Harriet Miers, Scooter Libby, the Attorney General, Karl Rove, Dan Bartlett, and the Chief was on by phone because he is in Maine right now. And this was --

Q Chief?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Card?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, Chief Card, yes. Andy Card. And this was the first discussion since the announcement to talk about the process and talk about the way forward. As you all are aware, we have had a plan in place. This is something we prepare for, have been preparing for over the last few years and have something in -- that we've prepared for on an annual basis, I would say, as well, just in case there was a vacancy. So a lot of the preparation has been done by staff over the last few years.

Q For what, exactly?

MR. McCLELLAN: In case there's a vacancy.

Q Well, I mean --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's a White House -- it's important for a White House to be --

Q Names or what?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I mean, I think -- obviously, there are various names that have surfaced over the years, but there hasn't been a vacancy until now.

At 11:00 a.m. -- or shortly, just after 11:00 a.m., actually, a few minutes after 11:00 a.m., I think a couple minutes after 11:00 a.m. -- the President spoke with Senator Frist. That was about five minutes. The President assured Senator Frist that we would be consulting with the Senate and that he would be, as well as the White House staff -- I think you all are aware that on Wednesday when the leaders were over here for the breakfast, the President did speak with Senator Reid to get some of his views and listen to what he had to say. I would expect that the President would be talking to Senator Reid further. I'm sure he will speak with the Majority Leader further. I would expect that he would be talking with the ranking members of the Judiciary Committee -- Senator Specter, and the ranking Democrat, Senator Leahy. But those are the consultations from his standpoint at this point.

Q When he spoke with Reid a couple days ago, that was about the Court, his views on the Court?


Q Okay. Okay.


Q When he -- when he spoke --

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, hang on, hang on. I would expect that over the weekend and on the flight over to Denmark, as well as during the G8, that the President would be reading through materials on potential nominees and doing some homework.

Q So you don't expect him to make an announcement before --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, there will be no decision before returning from the G8. I think you heard the President talk about out there -- or express how he takes his constitutional responsibility seriously, that this will be a thorough process. I'm sure that he will look over materials of a group of potential nominees beginning soon, including on the flight over and during the G8. That will be an opportunity for him to do that.

Q Does he want the Congress the change its schedule at all?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Does he want the Congress the change its schedule at all, in terms of the recess, to expedite the proceedings and make sure they do have somebody as quickly as possible once he's named an --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think he referenced out there in his remarks that -- I mean, we will move forward in a timely manner is the way I would describe it.

Q So there's no way he'll do it before he comes back?

MR. McCLELLAN: No. At this point, he has -- he has not done any looking over materials of potential nominees or anything of that nature. I mean, the staff has -- as I said, the White House staff has obviously been preparing for a potential vacancy. But he has not been looking over materials about potential nominees.

Q So he has not spoken to any potential nominees himself?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's a broad question. Not since any announcement has been made, if that's what you're asking.

Q No, I know -- but over the past --

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, a potential nominee could be -- could be --

Q It could be anyone --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, no, no.

Q He will interview potential candidates before he makes his decision, do you think?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, I -- this is going to be a thorough review process. I don't want to get too far ahead of the process at this point. But I think the first step is that he will be looking over materials relating to potential nominees and that he will look over a group of potential nominees.

Q Are you saying that he, himself, has not given consideration to who would be his nominee?

MR. McCLELLAN: I would say he has not, at this point, given any serious consideration to any nominee because he has not reviewed any material relating to potential nominees in any serious way. There hasn't been a vacancy until now. The White House has been preparing, but until there's a vacancy, the President wasn't going to be in that process of looking through materials regarding potential nominees or really seriously starting to look at a group of potential nominees that could fill the vacancy.

Q Scott, while we were standing outside, the President was on the phone. And from your time line, it sounded like he was talking to Frist. Was he agitated? Because he seemed clearly agitated when he was on the phone. He was very -- and you were in there. His hands were going, and he -- no, his hands were going and he was holding papers and shaking the papers. And when he saw us looking, he moved away and went to another room. Was there some kind of problem between he and Frist on the phone?

MR. McCLELLAN: Not at all.

Q No, seriously. What were they talking about other than --

MR. McCLELLAN: What I just described. I mean, seriously, that was the discussion of the conversation. They were --

Q And then shaking --

MR. McCLELLAN: The President -- no, April --

Q He looked agitated.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all.

Q Scott, how far will the President go --

MR. McCLELLAN: That sounds pretty dramatic, but, no. I can assure you --

Q Well, if someone --

MR. McCLELLAN: I can assure you, no.

Q If one of our crack reporters has footage, you will see for yourself --

MR. McCLELLAN: You sound a little agitated, though. (Laughter.)

Q How far -- how far will he go -- how far will he go with the consultations --

MR. McCLELLAN: It was a very good conversation.

Q -- with the consultations with the Democrats? Is he giving -- he's not giving them a veto over the choice. How far is he prepared to go with the Democrats?

MR. McCLELLAN: He -- and you heard him talk about it in the Rose Garden, I think, at a press conference not too long ago. The President indicated that he would be listening to the views of members of the Senate.

Q Scott, what's the material that will --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think in terms of who he's going to appoint, the President talked about that. He talked about how he's going to appoint someone of high intellect and great legal ability and someone with good judgment. I think you know the type of nominees -- the type --

Q -- so it will be a conservative?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- of nominees he's going to look at. The President is going to appoint someone who will interpret the law and not make -- not try to legislate from the bench.

Q Just to understand --

Q His name must have been around for awhile.

MR. McCLELLAN: It's too early to speculate about any names --

Q Can you tell us a little of the process of information that will go the President, like, how large a portfolio on each candidate, how thick the material for the review?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ed, and again, today is a day, really, to honor Justice O'Connor and pay tribute to her many years of service. The President has the highest respect for her; Mrs. Bush has the highest respect for her.

Q Scott, you talked -- the President talked about culture of life being very important to him, and Justice O'Connor has disappointed people who expressed similar views in the years. Is he -- how important is that going to be in picking her successor?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there will be plenty of time to talk about the process and things of that nature, but today is a day to honor Justice O'Connor. I think the President talked about the type of individual that he is looking for. He described it in general terms --

Q Not Roe v. Wade?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he's answered that question previously.

Q Any kind of parameters on numbers? Are we talking 30 candidates, 10 candidates?

MR. McCLELLAN: At this point, Kelly, I think that's too early to get into that. I'd say a group of potential nominees.

Q But some senior staff have done personal interviews with some of these potentials?

MR. McCLELLAN: The staff has been -- has been preparing for the potential for the possibility of a vacancy.

Q How much was their focus now on the Chief Justice? I mean, does this change the equation at all from what you were preparing for?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President described the type of individual that he was looking for.

Q But, I mean, some of the staff-level preparations you were talking about, were they focused on the expectation that it was going to be Rehnquist?

MR. McCLELLAN: They are focused on individual -- I think you can say that they are focused on a process that will allow the President to have a group of potential nominees to choose from that will be thorough. And, no, I wouldn't describe it that way.

Q Is there going to be a litmus test on abortion?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President has previously addressed that question. And I talked about the type of person that he would be looking for.

Q So it means he would object to someone who is pro-choice?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has previously talked -- previously addressed that question over the years.

Q What did he say?

Q -- this process earlier --

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, you all are going to -- you'll want to ask a lot of questions on all this, and I appreciate that, but today is a day to honor Justice O'Connor and her service. So I'm not going to go --

Q Why was the --

Q Why was the research, you know, restricted solely to the staff, because now he's going to be flying to Denmark and for the first time reading these papers. What was the thinking that the President wanted to wait until there was an actual announcement before really diving into this --

MR. McCLELLAN: There wasn't a vacancy. I mean, there's been speculation over the last four years that there would be a vacancy. There wasn't a vacancy until now. And --

Q So he really hasn't read any papers at all?

Q Would you expect an announcement, say within two weeks?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's the way I described it.

Q Would you expect an announcement in the early part of this month, say within two weeks?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to put a time frame on it other than to say he will move forward in a timely manner. This is -- it's important that this be a thorough process, in the President's view. The President is going to be very deliberate about the process and carefully consider a -- carefully consider a group of potential nominees.

Q Would he rather use the White House as his backdrop versus Crawford as his backdrop in making the announcement? (Laughter.)

Q Was the President surprised that it was O'Connor?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q That it was O'Connor?

MR. McCLELLAN: There has been a lot of speculation lately, so we didn't have any knowledge before yesterday that there was -- that there might be a potential vacancy.

Q Did the sealed envelope ever get over here? (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: This morning.

Q You left that hanging. (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, this morning. She came over this morning.

Q Did he -- she -- it was brought in and presumably he --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me double check all that. I forgot to --

Q He opened that?

MR. McCLELLAN: In the process of everything else this morning, I forgot to talk to Harriet about it. I'll put it at the bottom of the transcript.

Q How long did that -- how long did the phone call last with O'Connor?


Q The phone call between the President and O'Connor, the Justice. How long did that --

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, it was about five minutes.

Q And what did she say?

Q Does the White House have any --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think I indicated that earlier.

Q -- insights, anything about any other possible vacancies over there?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Does the White House know anything about any other possible vacancies? You don't anticipate or know either way? There could be, there might not be.

MR. McCLELLAN: We don't have any -- we don't have any knowledge --

Q I'm sorry, you did not know that it was Justice O'Connor until this morning, correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: This morning.

Q You knew it was somebody, but not her, until this morning?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we knew that the Court had a letter to deliver to us, and it was this morning when the marshal informed Harriet that it was relating to Justice O'Connor.

Q So was everybody going crazy with speculation here last night? Really, I mean --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I mean, I think it was a -- I mean, it was a small group of individuals, obviously --

Q All right, not "everybody," just the small group.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- that knew that something might be delivered.

Q When exactly did the Court say they had the letter, then?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q When exactly did the Court say they had the letter to --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it was yesterday morning when --

Q Do you know about what time? I missed that --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- when Harriet spoke to --

Q I mean, I know --

MR. McCLELLAN: Shortly before noon yesterday, is what I described. She said that she would be delivering it today. I mean, I assume that Justice O'Connor wanted to inform some other people, like maybe fellow Justices, about her decision.

Q Has Harriet spoken with any of the other Justices today?


Q Do you have plans to?

Q The papers he'll be --

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, if there are any calls, I'll keep you posted.

Q The papers he will be reviewing en route to Denmark, they will have lists of the nominees?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q They will have lists of the nominees?

MR. McCLELLAN: It will be materials on potential nominees, is the way I would describe it.

Q So, I mean, names and bios and things like that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's materials relating to potential nominees, so it would be -- I mean, I think you can take that, that would be information relating to potential nominees. So reviewing their materials, that's why I said the President wants to do a thorough and deliberate review of potential nominees before he comes to a decision.

Q Will Harriet be traveling with him, Scott, to --

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know that her plan was to. I imagine there's -- I don't know if there's been any change in that, that I can talk to you about.

Q Can you clarify his --

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, White House staff will be consulting with members of the Senate, as well, and the President indicated that.

Q Karl wasn't going to go; is he now going to go?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know of any change to who all is going. I mean, I'll check on that.

Q Can you say that he really has not looked a file involving information about a nominee until -- he hasn't done any of that yet?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he has not -- I mean, the White House staff has been preparing information, but he has not sat down and looked over material relating to potential nominees.

Q Did the staff brief him on what they were finding? I mean, in a -- I mean, just --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get further into the process today. I mean, that starts getting into speculating about potential nominees and so forth. Is there anything else?

Q Yes, a change of subject, the Kuwaiti Prime Minister? Anything new to add?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I mean, I was supposed to be at the lunch and it looks like I'm going to miss it. I get to walk in late.

Q Any agreement -- anything new coming up for the meeting?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know, I'm supposed to be at the lunch right now. But because of today's --

Q Scott, just to clarify one --

Q -- spoke with Harriet this morning and told her that the letter was regarding O'Connor, did she tell her that it was a letter of resignation, or just that it was a letter regarding O'Connor?

MR. McCLELLAN: It was relating to Justice O'Connor. I mean --

Q Did that marshal physically --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that gave us --

Q Did that marshal hand-carry the letter over here?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, delivered it over here. That's why she called her yesterday to say that she had something to deliver and that she was arranging for the Supreme Court -- arranging for the Supreme Court to bring her over here.

Q Which building did it come to?

Q The marshal had to give Social Security number, date of birth to get in the gate?

Q Which building did it come? Here or next door?


Q Scott, what was the President's reaction when he learned that it was O'Connor and not Justice Rehnquist? Do we know what he said?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't have an immediate reaction to it. And I don't know that I would get into that anyway.

Q What about other people, such as the Vice President or Harriet Miers or --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think they -- I mean, the immediate focus was that -- I mean, we had prepared for this possibility that the President would deliver a statement upon learning of a vacancy, or upon the announcement of a vacancy. So we were preparing a statement. Like I said, he had an initial meeting to visit with his advisers about the process and to talk about the way forward, and that's really where we are right now.

Q Was the White House surprised at her announcement?

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, Ken, we didn't know and have any indication about -- well, I mean, other than what we were seeing in the papers and reporting, all the speculation that was going on. I mean, we didn't have anything beyond that until this morning, really.

Q Was anyone around here, like everyone outside here, anticipating more that it would be Rehnquist than O'Connor?

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, I think different individuals probably had different thoughts about what might occur or what might not occur, just like people out in the public do, just like you all did, as well -- depending on who you talk to.

Q How long can we expect? Months, weeks?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the Court comes back in session in October. But the President will move forward in a timely manner.

Q And the goal is to have someone confirmed by the time they come back?


Q How long does this White House anticipate the process?

MR. McCLELLAN: You want to get someone in place. She said that she was going to -- she would be -- she indicated she would be -- continue to serve until a nominee is confirmed and in place.

Q What's the White House theory on how long it will take from the day he announces someone until you get through the process? Weeks, months, days?

MR. McCLELLAN: See, Ken, I'm not going to speculate about that, other than to say he'll move forward in a timely manner.

Q Can we have her letter?

MR. McCLELLAN: But I kind of indicated to you earlier, I said that this was going to be a thorough process.

Q Did she give a reason, Scott? Did she indicate at all --

MR. McCLELLAN: Not on the phone conversation. He didn't ask and she didn't indicate -- and she didn't express why.

Q So it was "don't ask, don't tell" pretty much.

Q Can we have the letter of resignation?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think they put it out at the Court. I mean, I -- I think they put it out at the Court.

Q So, Scott, reaching out to Harry Reid --

Q -- in the letter that you received, Scott?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q The letter that you all received, was it the same letter that was released at the Court?


Q Scott got it on EBay -- (laughter.)

Q Reaching out to Harry Reid, the White House -- am I safe to say the White House realizes they have to have the Democrats in their corner on whoever they select? This person may not be to the extreme --

MR. McCLELLAN: What do you mean?

Q Look at what happened with the filibusters. The nuclear option.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I can't imagine that they're going to want to get into controversial tactics such as that.

Q Do you think this reaching out will be more comprehensive than it is on other subjects? Say, Social Security.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we've consulted on judicial nominees throughout the administration, and the President said --

Q Do you think there will be more consulting, or about the same?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it will be more thorough consulting.

Q Do you think that the President will make an extra effort to reach out to Democrats on this --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he indicated -- I just indicated to you that I would expect he would be talking to the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader, the ranking members of the Judiciary Committee. The White House staff is going to be talking to members of the Senate, as well.

Q So you need Democrats in this process?

Q -- what you would normally do on a nomination?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know of another instance when he -- well, we have -- I want to back up, and you look back at what our process has been, we have reached out and we have consulted with members of the Senate prior to making announcements on judicial nominees. But I think this will be an even more thorough process.

Q So you need Democrats on --

Q Was the letter just in -- was it in a long manila envelope or --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me get you that. I'll put it on the bottom of the transcript.***

Q Do you need Democrats in this process?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President -- the President is going to reach out to Republicans and Democrats alike. He indicated that and we --

Q Do you need Democrats in this process?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that, because the President indicated, April -- (laughter) -- the President indicated he would appoint someone with good judgment, high intellect and someone of great integrity and great legal ability. And so I think that you would expect that there would be -- have good bipartisan support for the type of nominee that the President is looking for -- or looking to appoint -- or nominate, I should say.

Q Are you expecting anything like what you have seen -- anything similar to what we've seen with Bolton, for example, so much confrontation?

MR. McCLELLAN: This is all kind of the speculation and analysis that you all will get into it. And, look, we'll leave that to others. But I would expect that this is going to -- I would hope that all members of the Senate would want to elevate the discourse. And I would -- I just can't imagine that Democrats are going to want to engage in controversial tactics.

Q No, they wouldn't. (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: This is -- this is a nomination for our highest court, and the President is going to -- the President takes his constitutional responsibility very seriously. And he's going to appoint someone of great intellect and legal ability and good judgment.

Q And not controversial?


Q Ask it again. (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: Ed, I think you all can speculate all you want, but like I said, I can't imagine that the Democrats would want to engage in controversial tactics when it comes to a nominee for the Supreme Court. And is there anything to ask?

Q Does the President have any plans -- once the name is announced, does he have any plans to travel around the country in support of this nominee? What is he physically going to do to support this nomination?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, today is a day to honor Justice O'Connor. And I'm not going to go beyond what we've already talked about in terms of the process at this point. I appreciate your question, though.

Q -- personal retirement accounts?

MR. McCLELLAN: Now it's really getting to --

Q Scott, in taking some additional time, will that allow the President to come forward with two appointments?

MR. McCLELLAN: With two appointments?

Q Two nominees.

MR. McCLELLAN: There's only one vacancy, Mark.

Q I understand that, but will taking some additional time enable him to --

MR. McCLELLAN: There's only one vacancy, and he's only looking for one nominee.

Q Put your hand on your hip like April and try it again. (Laughter.)

Q But in taking the time to go through the papers, will it enable him to do the work, the diligence that's necessary to be prepared for two?

MR. McCLELLAN: Mark, there's only one vacancy. I don't know how to go further than that at this point. He's looking for one nominee. And I'm not going to try to speculate on a vacancy that doesn't exist. And that's kind of getting at a question that there might be another vacancy. And I'm just not going to go there.

Q Are you expecting to take this much time when you thought it might have been a different justice who was stepping down?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, he'll look at a group of potential nominees and I would -- I think David was asking a question earlier if this changes things, and I wouldn't characterize it that way at all.

Q Scott, if there's a second one -- and I shouldn't say "if" because you'll run away -- but does the process begin all over from --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm just not -- you're asking me to speculate. I'm not going to --

Q Well, does he remember what he read? (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: There's one vacancy, and that's what we're looking to fill.

Q Thanks.

MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you.

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