A Republican Senator says he's heard Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's name mentioned in connection with the Supreme Court vacancy brought about by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.
Hatch, (R-Utah) didn't elaborate in an interview Monday on Today, but to say that "I heard Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's name today and that would be an interesting person in the mix.'' Hatch also made clear that Republicans were gearing up for a big fight should President Barack Obama nominate what he calls "an activist judge."
Hatch wouldn't say whether he'd support Clinton, who served as a Democratic Senator from New York before taking over as Secretary of State. But he did say "I like Hillary Rodham Clinton," adding that he thinks she's done a good job for Democrats.
Also appearing on the segment was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). Leahy retorted "I think she's done a good job for the country, not just for Democrats."
The White House moved quickly today to squelch the rumors.
"The President thinks Secretary Clinton is doing an excellent job as Secretary of State and wants her to remain in that position," said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor.
For her part, Clinton has said she plans to retire once her stint ends as Secretary of State.
Justice Stevens, who turns 90 this month announced his retirement Friday. For decades he has led the four-member liberal bloc on the court, balancing it against the four-member conservative bloc, with moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy often holding the swing vote.
Since the announcement, rumors have been circulating around Washington DC and in the press about who might be on President Obama's short-list of possible nominees to replace the outgoing Justice. Clinton's name has been among those mentioned, a possibility that United Press International called "preposterous."
But some dare to dream. Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon wrote last week that Clinton would be "a rock star of a Supreme Court justice."