WASHINGTON (CNN) – Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Friday that he would support Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 primary, and was hopeful that Democrats would clear the field for the Republican-turned-Democrat.
"Like the President, Vice President, Harry Reid, the DSCC and Ed Rendell, Senator Casey is supporting Specter," Casey's spokesman Larry Smar said Friday in an email to CNN. Smar was referring to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
Specter already has one opponent in the primary, Joe Torsella, who announced his intention to run for the Senate before Specter switched parties. Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak also has not ruled out a run for the seat.
But Casey said on The Bill Press Show Friday morning that he hopes his party can reach a "consensus" and rally behind Specter to prevent Republicans from winning the race.
"I hope we can achieve some kind of consensus because I think he is the strongest candidate and I believe we've gotta try to make sure we elect a Democrat and don't let dissension or disunity allow a Republican to walk in," Casey said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A process begun months ago among White House lawyers to quietly compile a list of possible Supreme Court picks has accelerated with word Justice David Souter plans to step down form the bench later this year.
The nominee would give President Obama an immediate opportunity to place his stamp on the nation's highest court, and perhaps to begin cementing his legacy with a lifetime appointment to that bench.
Legal sources say Obama's legal team will begin refocusing what had been an aggressive effort to fill federal vacancies on lower federal court seats. Now their attention will be directed into a search for Souter's replacement.
Administration officials have been working closely with key senators and Democratic legal advisers on possible choices.
"The [Obama] White House and the Justice Department certainly have people there already thinking about the issues, compiling lists, starting to vet the backgrounds of those candidates," said Edward Lazarus, a Supreme Court legal expert and a legal adviser during the Obama transition.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to inform his colleagues Friday of his intention to retire from the bench, a legal source said.
Souter is expected to discuss his decision during a weekly closed-door meeting.
Souter wanted to notify his associates in private before making a public announcement, the source said.
There was no immediate indication of when Souter officially would inform the White House.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo in Southeastern Europe the week of May 18th, the White House announced Friday. During his trip, Biden will visit U.S. officials and military personnel stationed in the region and meet with political leaders in all three countries.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - NARAL Pro-Choice America has issued a statement in reaction to reports that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will soon announce his intention to retire from the nation's highest court.
(full text of statement after the jump)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Federal prosecutors have asked that espionage charges be dropped against two former pro-Israel lobbyists.
The acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Dana Boente, said he filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman because of a court ruling that would have allowed the defense to use more classified information at trial than the government had wanted.
"When this indictment was brought, the government believed it could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt," Boente said in a written statement. "Given the diminished likelihood the government will prevail at trial under the additional intent requirements imposed by the court and the inevitable disclosure of classified information that would occur at any trial in this matter, we have asked the court to dismiss the indictment."
Rosen and Weissman, former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, had been accused of receiving classified material and passing it on to Israeli officials.
(CNN) - The White House apologized Thursday "if anybody was unduly alarmed" by Vice President Joe Biden's comments that seemed to suggest Americans should avoid air travel or confined spaces of any kind.
"What the vice president meant to say was the same thing that many members have said in the last few days," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. "And that is, if you feel sick, are exhibiting flu-like symptoms….that you should take precautions, that you should limit your travel."
In an appearance on NBC's Today Show earlier Thursday, Biden said he had urged his family not to go "anywhere in confined places now."
Related video: Biden flu gaffe off message
"I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation, (be) suggesting they ride the subway. … So from my perspective, what it relates to is mitigation. If you're out in the middle of a field and someone sneezes, that's one thing, if you're in a closed aircraft or closed container or closed car or closed classroom it's a different thing," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - David who? was the initial reaction of Americans to a little-known judge from New Hampshire named in 1990 to sit on the nation's highest court. Even the nominee didn't know what to think when President George H.W. Bush called him with the news, telling supporters, "I was in a state of virtual shock."
David Hackett Souter had only been on a federal appeals court bench for a few months when he was tapped to replace liberal lion William Brennan, a choice many Republicans hoped would move the high court rightward and reshape American law.
"I think that is good news for all of us who are committed to the Constitution of the United States," said President Bush. "He'll be a superb justice for the Supreme Court."
In reality, Souter was in many ways a typical, old-fashioned Yankee Republican - a moderate with an independent, even quirky streak. Whether he became more liberal in his views after joining the Supreme Court, as many conservatives believe, may depend on your politics.
"Justice Souter will never escape the label of having been an enormous disappointment, a traitor to the right," said Thomas Goldstein, a Washington appellate attorney and founder of Scotusblog.com. "It instead created the opportunity to entrench a series of more liberal rulings. So he became the right's greatest failure and we will forever hear the mantra 'No More Souters' from conservatives."
Colleagues dismiss suggestions that liberal colleagues on the bench helped move Souter to the left.
Related: Souter to retire, source says