Supreme Court Speculation
The news I've just heard is that after Bush touches down from his Scotland trip, William Rhenquist is going to announce his retirement, giving Bush, in effect, 3 appointments to the Supreme Court (Rhenquist is Chief Justice, so there would could conceivably be a situation where Bush has to appoint 2 new associate justices, and elevate one of the present associates to chief justice, which would require Senate confirmation).
If he has 3 appointments, then he has the opportunity to play to each of his "constituents," the nutty right wing part of the party, and the people who would've been considered nutty right wingers 20 years ago, but are now considered moderates (they may actually believe in evolution, for instance). The extreme right wing has launched a scorched earth strategy against an Alberto Gonzales appointment (he of the tortured torture memos), worried that he may oppose having churches write the laws of the nation. Ever since his opinion from the Texas Supreme Court in favor of striking down a law requiring parental notification for abortions, they have viewed him with suspicion. While I don't think he is such a great pick for the court, he would clearly be presented as a compromise candidate by Bush. It would also free him up to put a total right wing cultural warrior to the bench in the other open seat, and appoint Scalia or Thomas as chief justice.
However, I have another possibility.
I think that, while Gonzales is clearly a possibility, I wonder why I've never heard of this person mentioned as a possible appointee: Orin Hatch. Think about it, he would fulfill all of the requirements for Bush and all of his constituents: He's very conservative, he has tried to put through every Republican nominee for 2 decades, while surrepticiously trying to bring down Democratic ones (remember back in the 90s when Republicans would deny Democratic nominees that now-sacrosanct up or down vote? Hatch, as chairman of the judiciary committee, was a prime perpetrator). But, he is a Senator and, by all accounts, a well-liked member of that body (unlike, say, John Ashcroft, who was disliked by enough people on the other side that they voted en mass against him as Attorney General).
I think that Hatch would be a cinch, and he would be conservative enough for the right while being acceptable enough to Democrats in the Senate who would undoubtedly confirm him. Then, after that, Bush could appoint the right wing nut job and watch the Democrats attempt - and probably fail - to filibuster that nominee. They'd have their right winger in there, though, and that would be enough to push through the other one.
So, you read it here first, I think Orin Hatch is my sleeper pick for one of the Supreme Court openings, and he could even be the pick for chief justice, which would mean that Bush wouldn't have to fight to get Scalia or Thomas appointed as chief justice and put them through another confirmation hearing (remember, Scalia sailed through confirmation in large part because there was a long, acrimonious confirmation process in 1986 while elevating Rhenquist to the chief justice job, much of the 1950s, 60s and 70s (including Watergate) was rehashed while Scalia, one of the most reactionary justices in judicial history, was given a lifetime appointment. It's a good strategy.