WASHINGTON

About 10 on Obama’s list for Supreme Court nominee

President Obama’s candidates for the Supreme Court include a new name, federal appeals court Judge Sidney Thomas of Montana, and at least six others who were contenders when Obama chose his first high court nominee last year, The Associated Press has learned.

Among the others under consideration are former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, federal appeals court judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The president is seriously reviewing about 10 people as a potential nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who is retiring this summer.

Seven of those names are now confirmed to the AP by the administration.

A senior administration official said the president’s consideration is not just centered on the three people receiving the most public attention: Wood, Kagan and Garland. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcements have been made about the people Obama is considering for the court.

OKLAHOMA CITY

Lawmakers interested in creating volunteer militia

Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea party movement leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.

“Is it scary? It sure is,” said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. “But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?”

Thus far, the discussions have been exploratory. Even the proponents say they don’t know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates. Critics also asserted that the force could inflame extremism, and that the National Guard already provides for the state’s military needs.

“Have they heard of the Oklahoma City bombing?” said Joseph Thai, a constitutional law professor at the University of Oklahoma.

ISLAMABAD

Many flee fighting caused by offensive against Taliban

More than 200,000 people have fled Pakistan’s latest offensive against Taliban militants in the northwest, the United Nations said Monday, as fresh clashes in the remote region killed 41 insurgents and six soldiers.

Elsewhere in the northwest, a suspected U.S. missile killed five alleged militants in a house in North Waziristan, the latest in a series of strikes in the region, Pakistani officials said. North Waziristan is home to al-Qaida and Taliban commanders, many of whom play a role in the insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan.

The military has pounded the Orakzai tribal region with airstrikes and artillery in an attempt to rout insurgents from the rugged, mountainous area near the Afghan border.

The exodus of civilians from Orakzai adds to the more than 1.3 million people driven from their homes by fighting in the northwest and unable to return.

WARSAW, Poland

Probe suggests human error in air crash that killed leader

Russian investigators suggested human error may have been to blame in the plane crash that killed the Polish president and 95 others, saying Monday there were no technical problems with the Soviet-made plane.

The Tu-154 went down Saturday while trying to land in dense fog near a Smolensk airport in western Russia. All aboard were killed, including President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of Polish political, military and religious leaders.

They had been traveling in the Polish government-owned plane to attend a memorial in the nearby Katyn forest for thousands of Polish military officers executed 70 years ago by Josef Stalin’s secret police.

The pilot had been warned of bad weather in Smolensk, and was advised by traffic controllers to land elsewhere – which would have delayed the Katyn observances.

NEW HAVEN, Conn.

Kennedy cousin denied in bid for new murder trial

The state Supreme Court on Monday rejected Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s bid for a new trial in the 1975 killing of his 15-year-old neighbor, ruling that a claim implicating two other men, including a large black man, was not credible.

The court ruled 4-1 against Skakel’s request, saying the evidence doesn’t back up the alternate claim.