Source: Clement Not Bush's Choice for High Court

ByABC News
July 19, 2005, 5:01 PM

July 19, 2005 -- -- Judge Edith Clement -- perceived by many observers as a potential frontrunner for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- is not President Bush's choice for the high court.

An informed source told ABC News they had spoken with Clement and said she received a phone call from the White House this afternoon. According to the source, Clement was thanked for meeting with the president and sharing her views on the Supreme Court, but that the administration has decided to go in a "different direction."

The White House said Bush will announce his selection tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

A U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the 5th Circuit, Clement was nominated to her current position by Bush and was confirmed by the Senate in November 2001.

Speculation has swirled about the nomination since O'Connor announced her retirement on July 1.

O'Connor, 75, was the first female justice to serve on the High Court, and many speculated that Bush would choose a woman to replace her.

Clement was considered a leading candidate to replace her, along with her colleague on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, Edith Hollan Jones.

Two other women have been frequently mentioned as possible candidates: Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was also believed to be under consideration, but unlikely to Bush's pick for the High Court.