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Order in the Court

Well, we don't see Karl Rove's and Matt Cooper's name on page 1 today, do we? It's a president's perogative to change the subject -- particularly a president dealing with unpalatable approval ratings and a simmering scandal over leaks -- and Bush obviously did that with his prime-time annointment last night of John G. Roberts as his Supreme Court nominee. That of course, after a day of whacky, feverish and often inaccurate media speculation about his choice.

Journalism loves conflict so the first question is whether this nominee will trigger the all-out culture and political war that could have the nation riveted to the hearings on C-SPAN. Can we dare hope for something as nasty and contentious as the Robert Bork battle royale? Or as soap opera-esque and seamy as the Clarence Thomas fight?


A glance at today's papers pours chilly, if not ice cold, water on those thoughts with the main narrative being that Roberts is a relatively safe, solidly conservative pick.

The Boston Globe analysis by Peter Canellos noted that "Roberts's personality...gives him the air of a reasonable, decent person who will approach his work with a sense of duty." Globe


The New York Times's Neil A. Lewis wrote that "on the other side of the political equation, he is likely to be confirmed, at least with far less trouble than many of the other candidates who had been listed as possible Bush choices."

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Charles Lane also wrote that Bush "passed over a number of highly conservative judges whose nominations would have been seen as far more ideological and polarizing than that of Roberts."Post

The Hotline, a daily compendium of media commentary and reporting, whose job it is to congeal the conventional wisdom down to one chewy nugget said: "By all accounts, the WH has found a safe and confirmable conservative in Roberts. He doesn't seem to frighten many in the Dem establishment nor make the conservatives think Souter. The predicted confirmation fireworks appear to be duds."


Plenty of folks on the left are geared up for battle, the conventional Beltway wisdom has a funny way of being laughably wrong, and who knows what kind of videos Roberts has rented?


But for today anyway, the headine is "Supreme Pick Just Safe Enough"
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