USA

President Bush, who huddled over the weekend with advisers at Camp David, Md., is expected to nominate a new candidate for the Supreme Court as soon as Monday, The Los Angeles Times reported. Sources close to discussions about finding a replacement for Harriet Miers, who withdrew her name last week, identified two federal appeals court judges, Samuel Alito Jr. and Michael Luttig, as the front-runners. Both are viewed as conservatives and strict constructionists in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. On that note, Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D) urged Bush to put forward a middle-of-the-road choice.

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's top aide until his resignation Friday, is expected to make his first court appearance in the next week or so in connection with the federal indictments against him. His lawyer promised a vigorous defense against the charges of obstructing justice, perjury, and lying during a grand jury investigation of the leaked identity of CIA analyst Valerie Plame. The expected trial raises the possibility that Cheney and other White House officials could be called to testify. Meanwhile, a friend of Plame said she intends to retire from the agency.

Depending on the outcome of last-minute negotiations, about half a million Philadelphians who commute to work via subway, trolley, and bus could be scrambling to get to work Monday morning. Transit workers were set to go on strike at 12:01 a.m. if the region's main transportation agency and its largest labor union could not work out differences over wages and health benefits.

Despite high energy prices and the impacts of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the economy grew a better-than-anticipated 3.8 percent in the third-quarter, the Commerce Department reported. That's better than the 3.3 percent growth rate from April to June.

Louisiana investigators and insurance adjusters alike are looking into the high number of claims by homeowners for losses due to fire after Katrina. the Associated Press reported, citing suspicions that the blazes were set by people without flood insurance. Meanwhile, as volunteers pitched in to clean up Canal Street in New Orleans, Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) criticized the Bush administration for allowing rebuilding contracts to go to out-of-state companies and low-wage workers at a Saturday rally at the Capitol in Baton Rouge.

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