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Axelrod Sheds Light on Obama’s Supreme Court Nominating Process

White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod describes the interview process that led President Obama to chose federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, and why the president is confident that she is the best person for the job.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    White House senior adviser David Axelrod joins me now from the press briefing room to discuss the president's court pick.

    David Axelrod, walk us through the president's decision-making process. How did Judge Sotomayor come to the president's attention? What was the winnowing process like?

    DAVID AXELROD, Senior Adviser to President Obama: Well, first of all, the president started with some principles that he's held for a long time. As you know, he spent much of his life studying the court, thinking about the court.

    And he had some very strong ideas about what he wanted in a justice. He wanted somebody who had excellence in the law, broad experience in the law. He wanted someone who shared his views on judging and how a judge should deal with cases and process cases and what the appropriate role of a judge is.

    And he wanted someone who brought some real-life experience to the court, someone who understood what it was like to struggle, someone who understood the way the law impacts on people in their daily lives.

    And when you applied those three standards, Judge Sotomayor came to the forefront quickly, although there were many other good — more than good, stellar candidates he considered. And in the last week, he's held a series of interviews. He's mulled this over, prayed over it.

    This weekend, he spent quite a bit of time reflecting on it. And then last night at about 8 o'clock, he made the decision.