The White House has requested prime time coverage from the networks tonite so he can announce his pick to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Rampant speculation all over the web is that the nominee wiill be Edith Clement.
Here is my quick take: I am relieved.
I was betting heavily on Janice Rogers Brown. That now looks to be incorrect. I really thought Bush would go Gonzales/Brown if he had two slots to fill. The one slot changes the equation. I am pleasantly surprised at this pick (assuming it comes true), because it represents a suprising lean toward the pragmatic. Clement should be confirmed rather easily (she got her current post 99-0 in 2001) and she doesn’t appear fire-breathing enough to please the demands of Dobson and Perkins. She is obviously somewhat of an unknown quantity and could become a stalking horse in one direction or the other. Bush hopes to assure righties she will come down correctly on issues of abortion, I hope she turns in to the next Souter/Kennedy.
I thought for sure the Bush administration would go further right; to please the base, and because they wanted a fight. We'll see what unfolds, but at this early stage they appear to have sacrificed on both those counts. Might be wishful thinking on my part...
Compared to Gonzales, it’s also worth considering, that Abu-to Gonzales is not really guaranteed to be any safer as a potential pro-choice pick, and he comes with the additional strikes of the torture memos and his overall Bush-toady status.
Anyone Bush picks is likely to lean away on Roe. But I believe Bush’s true priorities lie with corporate interests above all else—his pick will certainly be a corporate foil first, other matters second.
Oh, and of course we all know that Bush pushing this announcement up has nothing to do with changing the news cycle...
UPDATE: After reading this thread at Kos, it looks like she's a hard-core corporatist. Bush sold out the religious right on this pick, and went with a business friendly lawyer (surprise--she was also an oil lawyer). He's using the vagueness on Roe to placate Democrats and have her cruise to confirmation, fulfilling step one of packing the court with corporatists. And next time, he'll get to go anti-roe AND corporatist.