A Race to the Bottom:
A commentator on another thread posted the following:
Clinton did not set out to nominate Ginsburg for the court. He set out to nominate Bruce Babbit, who, by all means, would have had the qualifications equivalent to Roberts. Instead, Orin Hatch told Clinton that Babbit would not be confirmed by the Senate, and gave a list of names which included Justices Breyer and Ginsburg.
This raises the following issue that I know serious Democrats are now really pondering:

Do Democrats want to support (or only tepidly oppose) a weaker conservative appointee who will be less dangerous than a highly qualified nominee with the judicial abilities to execute a serious judicial philosophy? Do they put their concern for judicial philosophy ahead of their concern for competence? Indeed would they not affirmatively prefer a less competent conservative on the bench to a more competent one? If you were an influential Democrat, how would you counsel a Democratic senator on this decision?

Put another way, did Orin Hatch make a mistake when he warned President Clinton off Bruce Babbit? Would Republicans be better off today with Babbit and not Justice Ginsburg on the Court? Should this be the criterion that ultimately determines the vote of a senator?

If the answer to these questions seems obvious--that of course Democrats should prefer the weaker Republican nominee, then does this not turn the confirmation process on its head. Opponents of a president screening the best and the brightest from the Court (as has been the obvious strategy for appellate court nominees) by means of the confirmation process. And, if implemented by both parties, would this not create "a race for the bottom" when it comes to the judiciary?

I have been very impressed by the insightfulness of the comments on the various threads concerning the nomination process, on both sides. I am very interested in the views of our readers on this matter.

Update: I appreciate the comments attempting to get the facts straight with regard to Bruce Babbit. But that is a side issue to the questions I was trying to raise and get feedback on.