This will very probably be wrong, as we will find out in a few hours, but I have had a sneaking suspicion that the selection for the Court will be John Roberts, who has received relatively little buzz in the media, though his name and profile have been mentioned in some prominent news accounts, and he fits none of the so very precious preoccupations of pundits or news anchors. It may be that this president, famous for his rather pathetic pandering to interest and minority groups with “symbolic” appointments, will throw out the conventional wisdom that he should replace Justice O’Connor with a woman or some other “historic” nominee and choose someone who suits his goals for the Court. Of course, all the latest rumourmongering has focused on Judge Clement, and these rumours may well be based in more reliable information, but don’t be surprised if the “swing vote” goes to the rather non-descript white guy from Buffalo.
This guess, which is all it is, seems to be supported by at least some of the earlier speculation at the start of the month. He has enough connections to the Bush dynasty and Bush personally to make him a known asset to the President, while his lack of a paper trail makes him less of a lightning rod for opposition activists’ attacks. The fear of a new Souter may be haunting “conservative” activists, and Judge Roberts may well become a new Souter (almost everyone goes native at the Court to some extent), but I doubt that will weigh heavily on Bush’s mind.