Crawford: Obama Wants No Fight Over SCOTUS

In this Sept. 29, 2009, file photo Associate Justice John Paul Stevens sits for a new group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington. Stevens, leader of Supreme Court's liberals, to retire this summer. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
The White House will try to paint the Supreme Court as being "out of touch" with everyday Americans, as President Obama considers nominees to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, but it doesn't want a fight over its nomination, CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford said Sunday on "Face the Nation."

The president will especially consider how potential nominees view the Supreme Court's recent, controversial decision in the "Citizens United" campaign finance reform case, Crawford told host Bob Schieffer.

Mr. Obama himself took an unprecedented swipe at the decision during his State of the Union address, saying the ruling would "open the floodgates" to special interest money in political campaigns.

On Friday, the president again referenced the case when addressing Stevens' retirement, saying that he will choose a nominee "who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."

"That statement was calculated and deliberate," Crawford said. "They're going to have a nominee that they think can prove Democrats, not Republicans, understand everyday Americans."

Nevertheless, Crawford said, Mr. Obama is likely to avoid nominating anyone Republicans could potentially filibuster.

"They don't want that kind of fight," she said.

The president will have to balance his interest in nominating a progressive candidate with consideration for whom he could get confirmed.

The current top contenders, Crawford said, are believed to be Federal Appellate Judge Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and Federal Judge Merrick Garland.

More Coverage of John Paul Stevens' Retirement:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Retiring
Read Justice Stevens' letter to President Obama
Obama Praises John Paul Stevens, Seeks Nominee With Similar Qualities
Obama on Justice Stevens' Retirement
Kagan, Wood, Head List of Likely Court Nominees
Replacing John Paul Stevens: A Strategic, Not Political Pick
John Paul Stevens' Retirement: Republicans Prepare for Supreme Court Battle
Jan Crawford: Does Obama Want a Supreme Court Fight?
Obama's Second Supreme Court Pick Likely Will Be Easier Than His First