Slate has an interesting summary of the various possible nominees to replace Chief Justice Rhenquist
if, as is widely speculated, he retires at the end of this term. Personally, I think Bush will pick Alberto Gonzalez. He certainly has the closest relationship to Gonzalez. It would also give him the opportunity to put a Hispanic on the Court. And, I think Gonzalez would not face a huge confirmation fight in the Senate, despite his relatively brutal confirmation hearings for Attorney General. I also happen to think Gonzalez would be a good pick. As a justice on the Texas Supreme Court, he was a pretty restrained moderate on an all-Republican court. He showed a healthy respect for the court's earlier precedents, even though as the court of last resort in the state, he could have voted to overturn them. And, he famously chastised more conservative judges for their "unconscionable judicial activism" expressed in their dissent where they had tried to make it much harder than the statute required for a minor girl to get an abortion without parental notification. Although I don't think Gonzalez has been that great as a lawyer for the Governor and later President, I do think he was a pretty good judge. And, after reading some of the summaries of the other candidates, he seems the least scary.