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WASHINGTON, D-C (AP) -- A University of Utah law professor could be named to replace ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the Supreme Court.
Rehnquist is undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer and his absence from Supreme Court proceedings has fueled speculation as to when his health might force him to retire from the court.
49-year-old Judge Michael McConnell's name has been frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for the high court position. McConnell currently sits on the 10th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals.
He was regarded as a leading conservative constitutional scholar on issues of religious freedom, abortion and gay issues.
The New York Times on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources, reported that McConnell's name is on the White House's short list for a spot on the high court.
It remains unclear whether President Bush would opt to nominate a new chief justice or elevate a sitting justice to chief justice.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)