With Harriet Miers' withdrawal from consideration for the vacancy on the US Supreme Court, the field is once again open for President Bush to choose a new justice. Brief biographies of some people whose names have been mentioned as possible nominees:
Samuel A. Alito, 55
A strong conservative voice in his 15 years on the Philadelphia-based 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals, which legal observers consider to be among the most liberal. He has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Emilio Garza, 58
Sits on the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals and was considered for a Supreme Court seat by the first President Bush. He has become best known for his views that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and that abortion regulation should be decided by state legislatures.
Alberto Gonzales, 50
US attorney general and former White House counsel . Critics contend a memo he wrote on treatment of terrorism detainees helped lead to abuses like those seen at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Conservatives have urged Bush not to nominate him.
Edith Hollan Jones, 55
Has served on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals since 1985. The first President Bush considered Jones for a vacancy on the Supreme Court in 1990, but nominated David H. Souter.
J. Michael Luttig, 51
Worked in the Justice Department during the administration of the first President Bush and has served on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. He was a law clerk to the late Chief Justice Warren Burger from 1983-84.
Michael McConnell, 50
A judge on the Denver-based 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals. He enjoys bipartisan support in the academic community. Based on his reading of the law, he opposed President Clinton's impeachment and the Supreme Court's 2000 ruling in Bush v. Gore that made George W. Bush president.
J. Harvie Wilkinson III, 60
Also on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been consistently conservative in his rulings since being put on the court by Reagan in 1984. Wilkinson wrote the majority 4th Circuit opinion in 1996 upholding the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that barred gays serving in the military from revealing their sexual orientation.
Edith Brown Clement, 57
On the 5th Circuit since 2001, Clement is known as a no-nonsense judge with a reputation for being tough on crime and meting out stiff sentences. Her 99-0 Senate confirmation vote to the circuit court in November 2001 suggests she has broad appeal. She was touted as a top possibility for the vacancy to which Roberts was nominated.
Maura Corrigan, 57
The Michigan Supreme Court justice is a walking billboard for the conservative mantra of judicial restraint -- the notion that judges should stick to interpreting the law and not making it. Her resume includes a number of firsts, among them: first woman to serve as chief assistant US attorney in Detroit, first woman to serve as chief judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Maureen Mahoney, 50
Often described as the female version of Chief Justice John Roberts, Mahoney, a lawyer in private practice, clerked for the late Justice William Rehnquist, served as deputy solicitor general under Kenneth Starr and has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Mahoney might upset conservatives with one of her major court wins, the landmark University of Michigan Law School case defending affirmative action.
With a reputation for meticulous preparation, she scrutinizes oral arguments for precision and reason. Appointed a justice to the Florida state Supreme Court seven years ago by Governor Lawton Chiles, she was sworn in as chief justice last July. During her tenure, Pariente has frequently grappled with high-profile, controversial cases, many involving questions of the law in matters of life and death.