This WaPo article tries, not very successfully in my view, to show that there’s a division between business and social conservatives in the upcoming nomination fight. Yes, business conservatives were much happier than were social conservatives with Sandra Day O’Connor, but that doesn’t mean that GWB has to appoint another O’Connor to please them. Birnbaum and Edsall to the contrary notwithstanding, it’s entirely possible for a jurist to favor some national business legislation (under the commerce clause, for example), while arguing that matters like abortion fall under state jurisdiction.
E.J. Dionne, J.r thinks we should have a political fight over the Supreme Court nominees, because, if you look at the numbers, Democrats didn’t really lose the last few elections, so they deserve to have their voices heard. Mr. Dionne, please read the Constitution! His other reason--that politicizing the nomination process is preferable to the politics of personal destruction, which is all opponents are left with if they can’t make political points--would be persuasive if political argument didn’t almost always include personal destruction as well. Last I looked, electoral politics included personal attacks as much as, if not more than, policy debates. If he really wanted to elevate the tone of the nomination process, he would urge Democrats to act like a loyal opposition, essentially giving the President the nominee he wants and then fighting the next election in part over differences in judicial philosophy.
Update: Professor Bainbridge addressed the business vs. social conservative issue quite effectively about a month ago. He recommended Michael McConnell as a nominee who would appeal to both sides.