[JURIST] The Washington Post reported Saturday that a group of former aides and other Republicans are quietly boosting the Supreme Court nomination of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [JURIST news archive; official profile] by shoring up his reputation among conservatives. Former Gonzales deputy David Leith said supporters do not want to "see a good man who has been a very solid conservative besmirched by fear and rumor." Republicans are divided about whether or not Gonzales is conservative enough to keep the US Supreme Court [official website] to the political right in the face of the two now-available vacancies following Justice Sandra Day O Connor's retiremenet and the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist [JURIST report]. As a Texas Supreme Court justice, Gonzales agreed with a court majority to let a 17-year-old girl to obtain an abortion without parental notification. Gonzales has also clashed with conservatives on the issue of affirmative action in connection with use of race in admissions at the University of Michigan [JURIST symposium]. Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary [advocacy website], expects the President to keep his promise to appoint a conservative justice like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia [Oyez biographies], and noted "there are others who fit that mold more closely" than Gonzales. The Washington Post has more.