LOTS of SCOTUS coverage this Thursday morning. Let's dive right in.

Top news is the Associated Press confirming six names that are on President Obama's list. They are:

Elena Kagan
Jennifer Granholm
Janet Napolitano
Sonia Sotomayor
Diane Pamela Wood
Carlos Moreno (California Supreme Court Justice nominatd to that bench by Gov. Gray Davis in 2001)

The Blog of the Legal Times (or the "BLT") reports that Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), who will lead the Republican questioning of the nominee as the Judiciary Committee's new ranking member, is staffing up. His first big hire: Brian Benczkowski, who was chief of staff to Michael Mukasey when he was attorney general.. He has also hired three other new staffers.

The Election Law Blog boldly predicts that Obama will select Diane Wood. Be sure to check out their reasoning.

Whether Obama will choose a woman is the focus of NPR and Wall Street Journal stories. NPR puts Sotomayor, Wood and Kagan as the top contenders.

And, since the New York Times isn't getting any information out of the White House, it decided to write about how well the White House is keeping the process locked down. (No one else is getting information either, for that matter, that AP story was the first with confirmations...)
One thing was certain to these and other recent participants at meetings where the Supreme Court was on the agenda: Mr. Obama relishes the idea of privacy. He loves the fact, aides said, that the names of at least some of his candidates have yet to trickle out.

That secrecy leads to incredibly helpful (sarcasm alert) quotes like this one in the Washington Post.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters afterward that Obama reiterated to the group that he "would choose a nominee who respects the Constitution and judicial precedent and also has the good judgment and common sense to reach fair decisions."

How revealing!

Burried in another Wall Street Journal story is this interesting tidbit about how the White House may react to liberal group lobbying:
...White House aides have delivered a stern message to their allies outside the gate: Hold your fire. The White House doesn't want to see battles that could put Democratic senators in conservative states such as Arkansas and Louisiana in an uncomfortable position.

To identity groups pressing for path-breaking nominees, such as the first openly gay justice or the first Latino, the message is even starker: You're hurting your cause. "The president does not like to be lobbied publicly by his friends," said one White House official.

And, of course, there are the obligatory profiles. The Los Angeles Times looks at how Kagan has made friends on the right and the left and, presumably, would be easy to confirm.
... unlike nearly all the other potential nominees, Kagan is not likely to face sharp attacks from conservatives. At Harvard, she won glowing praise from prominent conservatives for bridging the ideological divide.

"Of all the good people Obama is considering, Elena is the really outstanding one," said Harvard's Charles Fried, who served as solicitor general for President Reagan. "It's clear where her heart is" -- she is no conservative -- "but she respects everyone and makes the conservatives feel comfortable," he added.

(Fried, by the way, is very conservative.)

And don't miss First Read's bio of Merrick Garland, the only white male in the lot.