As the WaPo points out, there is a gaping chasm between the activists, charged as ever, and the general public,
generally unconcerned, over the possible nomination of Samuel Alito. Personally, I don't like the guy. Although his nomination certainly reflects the American meritocracy, which had been shamefully abandoned with the nomination of Harriet Miers, I am not sure I agree with Alito on a single thing.
Senate Republicans today noted that Supreme Court nominations should not center around issues. That the crux of these hearings is abortion, they say, misses the point about how the highest court in the land is to be constituted (pun intended). Then, after decrying the infusion of liberal politics into American jurisprudence, they lamented the sins of liberal rulings of Courts past. How dare the Democrats ask about Alito's abortion views, we heard yesterday on one hand, and how dare Justice's protect pornography and restrict school prayer, we heard on the other. Like it or not, consistency is not a common virtue in the US Senate. And while Democrats are certainly capable of hypocrisy, Republicans have elevated it to an art form.
Back to the WaPo article. Sure, no one is paying attention now. This will certainly change if Roe v. Wade is overturned. And doubly so if it happens in an election year. Say, isn't this an election year? Conservatives accuse liberals of looking to the courts to institute policies that could would not resonate in any legislature. The legalization of Gay marriage- by the courts- in Massachusetts prompted a tragic string of anti-gay laws in November 2004. And perhaps the Conservatives have something of a case here, although I disagree with their position on marriage equality. However, a ban on abortion has become something that Conservatives hope to garner from the Court. They cannot do it in the legislature, their positions are unpopular with most Americans. If Roe is trimmed, expect a backlash.
If Alito is blocked, Bush has no choice but to nominate someone just as conservative on the issue of abortion. He owes that much to his base. As such, I predict that Alito will be confirmed. We cannot hope for an ideological mirror of Sandra Day O'Connor.
If Roe v. Wade is knocked around too hard, it will facilitate the coming Democratic Majority.