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Senators Expect Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee ‘Soon’

President Barack Obama met Wednesday with key senators to discuss the selection of a Supreme Court nominee to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. Ray Suarez speaks with representatives from three groups trying to influence his nomination.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now another take on the search for a new Supreme Court justice. Ray Suarez has that.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    President Obama today met with a group of Democratic and Republican senators to discuss many of the issues Eric Holder mentioned in Gwen's interview.

    Joining Mr. Obama at the White House were Democratic leader Harry Reid, Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy and ranking member Jeff Sessions.

    And as Mr. Obama's selection process moves forward, public interest groups around the country have been bombarding the White House with their advice and their favored choices.

    We're joined now by representatives of three of those groups. Curt Levey is executive director of the Committee for Justice; Nan Aron, founder and president of the Alliance for Justice; and Cesar Perales, president and general counsel for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, he joins us from New York.

    And, Mr. Perales, would it be fair to say from the outset that you'd say straight up, "I would like to see a Hispanic on the Supreme Court?"

    CESAR PERALES, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund: I would say straight up, I would like a Hispanic on the Supreme Court. I would also say that this is a great opportunity for this president to make a historic choice, a president that all of his life has been making history.

    This, as Eric Holder just referred to, the fact that the court ought to represent all facets of our nation. Let us keep in mind that probably after the next census we'll learn that one out of six people in this country is a Hispanic, and we've never had a Hispanic on the court. This is an opportunity to name a Hispanic to the court.

    And I urge that, not just because I think that demographics would dictate that, but because I think a special perspective, a special insight would be brought to the court's deliberations, something that I think is necessary and something that I think is about time it occurred.

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