As I wrote last night, my hope is that if President Bush looks to a sitting federal appeals court judge to replace Chief Justice Rehnquist, that he switch the Roberts nomination to the position of Chief to accomplish that transition quickly and then follow with the nomination of Judge Luttig from the Fourth Circuit to fill the O’Connor vacancy. Judge Luttig’s reputation for intellect, integrity and good humor as well as his long service on the bench make him as qualified as Judge Roberts, and as we have seen, the public supports presidential nominees when they are qualified regardless of the content of the left’s hysterical charges.
One interesting back-up candidate, though, is Senator Sam Brownback. While the GOP would lose his Senate seat for 15 months, Congressman Blunt could win it back in short order regardless of who the Kansas Democratic governor appointed, and Senator Brownback would bring to the highest court the sort of skills sets that court watchers often assert are necessary in a Chief Justice.
Of course the Senate minority would defer to a nominee from the body, even though Senator Brownback is a staunch conservative. If the minority didn’t, and chose to attempt a filibuster, well, the vote for the “Constitutional option” would be overwhelming indeed.