Democrats worry that the president could use a second nomination to name a conservative ideologue to placate the Republican Party’s right wing, which has privately expressed doubts that Roberts might not be as reliable a conservative vote as they would like. Democrats express the opposite fear, that Roberts will be rigidly conservative.
“The Republican Party’s right wing has privately expressed doubts”? Privately? I wonder where they’ve been?
On a more serious note, they note that Democrats made the fairly reasonable statement that knowing who would be nominated to replace O’Connor would make their decision on Roberts easier. Certainly the list of moderate, minority candidates could almost all be seen by some as an improvement over the apparently conservative, white male Roberts. On the other hand, Democrats would do well to consider that since Roberts is now replacing the solidly conservative Rehnquist, the stakes for them are actually lower than when he was replacing the “swing vote” O’Connor regardless of the eventual O’Connor nominee.
The really interesting question is “who is going to replace John Paul Stevens?” The man is 85. The word “inevitable” comes to mind.