Monday, July 04, 2005

Court and Spark: A Supreme Scenario

For what it's worth, here's my prediction on Bush's Supreme Court nominee: it won't be any of the "hot-button" prospects (Gonzales, Pryor, etc.). It will be some Federalist Society apparatchik who has plugged along for years, quietly, unnoticed, issuing consistently right-wing rulings but with a minimum of overheated Borkian/Scalian rhetoric.

It will be someone who will evoke this kind of reaction among the "conventional wisdom" clique (Richard Cohen or E.J. Dionne, say): "At first glance, at least, President Bush has made a surprisingly solid pick for the Supreme Court: a conservative to be sure, but no ideologue, no firebrand. All the lefty bloggers and anti-Bush activists out there may yet dig up some skeletons, of course, but at the moment, we applaud what looks to be an act of genuine statesmanship by the president."

This first impression won't last, of course. Unsavoury facts about the nominee's hardcore ideology and slippery ethics will indeed emerge. But that first CW impression will have taken hold, and the subsequent opposition to the nominee will be increasingly portrayed as arcane nit-picking and partisan spin.

Either that, or else Bush goes straight to Wingnut Central and hauls out the first slobbering goon he can find, in an arrogant bid to prove his power by cramming the most flagrantly inappropriate candidate down the throat of Congress, a la John Bolton. A possibility not lightly to be dismissed, of course; but I still think the first scenario is the more likely.