My Sense of the Roberts Confirmation Picture:
It's less than a day since President Bush nominated John Roberts to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, but I wanted to offer some thoughts on how the nomination is playing out so far based both on my reading of the press and blog reactions and my own discussions about these issues with folks in DC.

  1) My sense is that most people expect Roberts to sail through. Roberts is widely liked and respected, and there are no obvious red flags. More importantly, from the perspective of many Democrats, Roberts was one of the two or three least objectionable names on the list of a dozen or so possible picks floated by the Bush Administration. The big question had been whether Bush would nominate someone with some Democratic support (which mostly meant McConnell, Roberts, or Gonzales), or someone Democrats saw as a lunatic or Republican hack (Janice Rogers Brown, etc.). Bush has answered that question by picking a safe nominee, someone with considerable Democratic support. And most expect Bush will be rewarded with a fairly straightforward nomination.

  2) The interest groups have to make a lot of noise right now, but it's mostly because they see that as their job regardless of who is the candidate. Lots of groups have been given lots of money to fight or support whoever Bush nominates, and that money has to be spent somehow. The spring has been wound very tight, and now we have to let it unwind a bit. But most people I've talked to aren't taking it very seriously, or seeing it as very specific to Roberts.

  Of course, all of this may change. These sorts of things are very fluid. But at least the initial sense seems to be that Roberts is in pretty good shape.