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President Obama interviews Diane Wood for Supreme Court

President Obama interviewed Judge Diane Wood of Illinois Tuesday for the pending US Supreme Court opening.

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Republicans, the minority party in Congress, have said little of Obama's potential picks since Stevens announced last month he would retire this summer. White House officials say they expect a tough confirmation fight no matter who is nominated.

Stevens is known as a consensus-builder whose intellect and persuasiveness have at times helped push the conservative-leaning court to his opinions. Administration officials say Obama is seeking a liberal of intellectual heft who also possesses consensus-building skills.

Obama has said he wants to announce his pick by the end of May, so the new justice can be confirmed before the next Supreme Court term begins in October. He announced his first court nominee, then-federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, on May 26, 2009. She was confirmed in early August.

Analysts said it makes sense for Obama to try to get through a distracting confirmation process as soon as possible before elections in November in which his fellow Democrats will be fighting to keep their majorities in Congress.

Also said to be on Obama's short list: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; Martha Minow, the dean of Harvard Law School; Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm; Ann Claire Williams, a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leah Ward Sears, who retired last year as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

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