President Bush settled on a nominee for the Supreme Court on Tuesday and the White House made arrangements for a nationally televised prime time announcement.
"I'll let you know when I'm ready," he said at a midday news conference where he declined to tip his hand.
That only intensified speculation on his choice for the first opening on the court in more than a decade and a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
The announcement was set for 9 p.m. ET from the East Room of the White House. The nominee's family was expected to be with Bush and the candidate.
One list that circulated was top-heavy with the names of women. Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans was among them.
Another female candidate thought to have been under consideration was Edith Hollan Jones, who also serves on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Bush said he had considered "a variety of people, people from different walks of life."
The tension was palpable in the West Wing of the White House; after a day of intense speculation, White House press secretary Scott McClellan walked into the press briefing room and said bluntly: "The president has made a decision and will be announcing his nominee to the Supreme Court at 9 o'clock."
McClellan said the American people expected that the Senate confirmation process would be a dignified one.
Other names that have been mentioned are: