Senior Obama adviser to lead search for SCOTUS nominee
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Brian Deese, a senior adviser to President Obama, has been tapped to lead the process of selecting a Supreme Court nominee and getting that person confirmed, a White House official said Monday.

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“Brian will ensure that the full capacity of the White House is trained on this effort, even while the rest of the White House continues its important work on other presidential priorities,” the official said.

A veteran of Obama’s 2008 campaign, Deese played a key role in the 2009 auto bailouts, served as acting director of the White House’s budget office and led Obama’s climate change efforts in the president's second term.

Deese was also a key player on the White House team that completed a sweeping budget deal last fall with then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerEthics panel reprimands Freedom Caucus chairman over handling of harassment allegations Pelosi allies rage over tactics of opponents Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time MORE (R-Ohio).

“The president has relied on Brian in a number of critical situations to do important work and to take on important projects," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said later Monday. “Given Brian’s performance in those other priorities, I don’t think it’s particularly surprising that he would be tapped for this responsibility too.”

Deese began his work on the Supreme Court process last week, Earnest said. 

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston will be in charge of the legal elements of the process, including the researching and vetting of potential nominees.

The group will report to Obama and his chief of staff, Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughLive coverage: Justice IG testifies before House on report criticizing FBI Ex-Obama chief of staff: Obama's Russia response was 'watered down' Former Obama officials launch advocacy group aimed at Trump's foreign policy MORE, on a “regular basis,” according to the official.

Obama faces a litany of obstacles in pushing his nominee through the nomination process. Citing November’s elections, Senate Republicans have pledged to not give consideration to any Obama pick. They say the next president should choose a replacement for Antonin Scalia, the leading conservative voice on the bench.

But the White House has sought to show Obama is taking the process seriously. He’s meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAs Democrats gear up to challenge Trump in 2020, the key political divide will be metropolitan versus rural McConnell: Criminal justice bill unlikely this year On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — GOP lawmaker pushes back on Trump drug pricing plan | Pfizer to raise prices on 41 drugs next year | Grassley opts for Finance gavel McConnell: Criminal justice bill unlikely this year On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report MORE (R-Iowa) on Tuesday with the hopes of persuading them to consider his nominee.

The White House is also looking to a number of former top officials to help the push. Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager in 2012, and Katie Beirne Fallon, who recently left her post as legislative affairs director, are among the group, The New York Times reported.

-- This report was updated at 1:44 p.m.