This slipped under the radar last night (at least mine):
The White House has formalized its short list of Supreme Court contenders and asked six prospects to provide personal background information, with an intensive vetting process well underway, according to sources close to the process.

The leading contenders on the short list: federal appeals court Judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Wood, and Solicitor General Elena Kagan, sources close to the process say.

No huge surprises there. But then comes this:
[T]he pick has prompted an internal struggle between legal and political officials within the administration, sources say.

Political officials like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are favoring Sotomayor, who would be an historic pick as the Court's first Hispanic justice.


Legal officials in the Administration want Obama to tap a candidate who would be a more obvious force on the Court, bringing both intellectual prowess and a proven ability to build coalitions. They favor either Kagan or Wood--prospects who could be considered judicial rock stars capable of going toe to toe with Scalia and Roberts.

The idea that Sotomayor doesn't have the gravitas for the nation's highest court sparked an uproar on the blogosphere this week. TNR's Jeffrey Rosen launched the debate on Monday, when he quoted anonymous former clerks and prosecutors who criticzed Sotomayor's demeanor and intelligence.

Numerous bloggers pushed back against Rosen--notably Glenn Greenwald--but the meme seems to have found its way into the administration. Whether Rosen's piece is the symptom or cause of this, of course, is unclear.