I hear they are one vote away from 50, as of this moment. How reliable that source is remains to be seen, but I imagine if we see Cheney show up, we’ll know they have 50.
I’m wondering if this isn’t going to be a pyrrhic victory for the Republicans. The polls at this point are less than clear. People haven’t been paying attention yet, with flimsy polling results. Of course, that will depend on how it’s portrayed in the media.
There are two ways this can backfire if it works. It will look silly instantly if Frist pulls the trigger and doesn’t win. But, if they do, there two ways, I think. First, the public reaction at first could be negative. Second, the Democrats could win the senate and the White House in 2008 and get a chance to repopulate the Supreme Court with centrist or liberal judges. After all, you can’t do much worse than Rehnquist and he’s probably going to be the only one replaced in before the 2006 elections.
It’s not as if there were all of a sudden three vacancies and the chance existed to eliminate the Casey/Roe majority, and that threat could be used as an effective campaign tool for the coming elections.
Maybe my life simply isn’t impacted enough to take these nominations seriously, the appellate court judges. Maybe I think the Fifth Circuit is a lost cause already, and it really isn’t, but I hardly think that alone should take a back seat to the long term political calculations.