Just a couple of hours ago, I was convinced that Clement was going to be the pick, based not simply on the popular sentiment, but on a series of conversations I’ve had with people in positions to “know things” over the past few days. But in the last couple of hours, a number of people I trust have expressed that they are now less than convinced, thinking that perhaps Bush will pull a last minute switch. There is even some suggestion that the nominee might not be at the White House when he makes the announcement tonight (which does not make much sense to me, given the prime time spectacle of the thing). There is still some last minute candidate promotion going on, and I note that Judge Alice Batchelder from the Sixth Circuit not only received high praise from Christopher Flannery today on NRO, but that Peter Schramm of the Ashbrook Center likewise has joined the fray in making the case for Batchelder.
Assuming that the mounting speculation is true, and that Clement is not the nominee, I would put my money on Priscilla Owen. She’s got the outside-the-federal-judiciary bona fides that Senator Specter has been crying for, she is from Texas, which raises her stock with Bush, and the leadership was insistent that she be the first judge pushed through after the filibuster logjam was broken, presumably to put her in a position to be elevated when O’Connor retired. Yes, there would be “war,” to quote Chuck Schumer, but the objections raised to Owen were particularly baseless, for reasons set out previously on NRO more than once.