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Think the Question Is ‘Who?’ How About ‘When?’

Publication Date: 
May 06, 2010
Source: 
The New York Times
Author: 
Mark Leibovich

Lecturer Thomas Goldstein weighs in with his guess on when President Obama will announce his pick for the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Mark Leibovich of the New York Times reports:

Washington loves a guessing game, and Supreme Court vacancies are great that way: plenty of names to handicap and horse-race, assumptions to advance and debunk, records to scour and distort.

Beyond the name, there’s the date: just when will the president announce his Scotus — Supreme Court of the United States — pick? After weeks of suspense, the White House whisperers are hinting it will be any day now.

“I am nearly perfectly confident that the pick will come early next week,” said Tom Goldstein, a partner at Akin Gump and publisher of Scotus Blog. Mr. Goldstein is a self-described “expert on the totally misguided Kremlinology of Supreme Court appointments.”

In fairness, Mr. Goldstein’s Kremlinology does not seem misguided. He bases his prediction on a few factors: (1) The White House machinery does not appear geared up for an announcement in the next day or so, and a weekend unveiling would be very unlikely. (2) An announcement Monday or Tuesday would still allow plenty of time — six weeks-ish — for the Senate to confirm a nominee before its July 4 recess. (3) Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — a key White House player in judicial appointments — is traveling in Europe. And (4) President Obama is set to go to Buffalo on Thursday for an economic-themed event that could be overshadowed by a judicial appointment (if it was announced, say, Wednesday).

After a brief phone interview on the topic of when, Mr. Goldstein followed up with an e-mail message. “Don’t make me out as an obsessed navel-gazer,” he wrote — as if that were something to be embarrassed about in Washington.