White House interviewing 5 potential US Supreme Court nominees: Source

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The White House is interviewing five potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the death last month of Justice Antonin Scalia, a source familiar with the process told Reuters on Wednesday.

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The source said those under consideration were federal judges Sri Srinivasan, Jane Kelly, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Paul Watford and Merrick Garland.

The five have been reported to be on the short list of potential nominees, but the source said they were the only ones currently under consideration.

Outside groups have said that President Barack Obama is likely to consider someone who is a woman or a member of a racial minority and was previously confirmed to a judgeship by a strong majority in the U.S. Senate.

The process of filling the spot that was held by Scalia, one of the court's most conservative justices, has ignited a partisan battle in Washington.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not hold hearings on anyone nominated to the Supreme Court by Obama, a Democrat. Republicans who control the Senate do not want to see the court shift ideologically to the left and say the next justice should be picked by the winner of the Nov. 8 election.

Senate Democrats are demanding a vote on Obama's nomination.

Kelly, who worked as a lawyer in Iowa, is considered a strong candidate because she has been supported by Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds hearings on potential nominees.

RELATED: Landmark Supreme Court cases:

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White House interviewing 5 potential US Supreme Court nominees: Source
An estimated 5,000 people, women and men, march around the Minnesota Capitol building protesting the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, ruling against state laws that criminalize abortion, in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 22, 1973. The marchers formed a "ring of life" around the building. (AP Photo)
1966: Since 1966 police have to advise a suspect that they have the right to remain silent and the right to counsel during interrogation. The so called 'Miranda Warning' after Ernesto Miranda who had a retrial because he was not so advised. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
Clarence Earl Gideon, 52-year-old mechanic who changed the course of legal history, is seen shortly after his release from prison on August 6, 1963 in Panama City, Florida. In 1961, Gideon was wrongly charged with burglary and sentenced to five years in prison. Gideon filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that his constitutional right to liberty was denied when Florida refused him an attorney. In a landmark decision later known as Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, stating that anyone accused of a crime should be guaranteed the right to an attorney, whether or not he or she could afford one. (AP Photo)
Linda Brown Smith, 9, is shown in this 1952 photo. Smith was a 3rd grader when her father started a class-action suit in 1951 of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan., which led to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 landmark decision against school segregation. (AP Photo)
African American students at a segregated school following the supreme court case Plessy vs Ferguson established Separate But Equal, 1896. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
Dollree Mapp, 12, who was involved in a Landmark U.S. Supreme court decision concerning illegal search and seizure in 1931, is escorted into 105th precinct in New York by CET. John Bergersen. She was arrested in her apartment in Queens, New York City on February 18, where police said they recovered drugs valued at $800,000. A man, Allen Lyins, 33, was also taken into custody. The landmark decision, Mapp V. Ohio, found for Mrs. Mapp on grounds that police had forcibly searched her apartment in 1961 with out search warrant. (AP Photo)
President Nixon tells a White House news conference, March 15, 1973, that he will not allow his legal counsel, John Dean, to testify on Capitol Hill in the Watergate investigation and challenged the Senate to test him in the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)
Supporters of the U.S. Supreme Courts ruling on same-sex marriage gather on the step of the Texas Capitol for a news conference celebrating marriage equality and looking to important work ahead, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Some of the parents who brought suit against public schoolroom prayer in the Herricks School District pose with some of their children at Roslyn Heights, a Long Island suburb of New York City, after the Supreme Court said the prayer was unconstitutional on June 26, 1962. The group was sparked by Lawrence Roth, right foreground. Parents are, at center, left to right, Thelma Engel, Ruth Liechtenstein and the Roths. Children are, left to right, rear: Michael Engel, 11; Dan Roth, 17; Judy Liechtenstein, 19; and Joe Roth, 14. Front: Jonathan Engel, 4, and Madeleine Engel, 7. (AP Photo)
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