If you're looking for liveblogging coverage of the Roberts confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is going on until 6:30 p.m. today, you have lots of options. Here are a few (thanks to How Appealing for most of the links):
--SCOTUSblog (Tom Goldstein);
--MSNBC (Tom Curry);
--Althouse (Ann Althouse);
Thus far, and not surprisingly, Judge Roberts is holding up very well under the senators' questioning. He is obviously well-prepared, operating without notes, and giving careful but clear answers to queries.
Judge Roberts is not taking an aggressive, confrontational, "balls out"* approach with the Committee -- and why should he? At this point, the Chief Justiceship is his to lose. Several polls taken before the start of the hearings indicate that the American people approve of John Roberts and want him to be confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States. In light of strong popular support for his nomination, a healthy Republican majority in the Senate, and practically no likelihood of a Democratic filibuster, Judge Roberts will cruise to confirmation as long as he doesn't say anything outrageous.
As for attire, Judge Roberts is wearing his standard uniform (which he wore to the White House back when his SCOTUS nomination was first announced, and also to yesterday's hearings): dark suit, white shirt, red necktie. But today's red tie is better than yesterday's. This red tie is not too bright, and it is enlivened by diagonal blue-and-white stripes -- tastefully thin, not gaudy and "American flag"-ish. (Photo at right by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters.)
For now, in a bit of Roberts confirmation counterprogramming, let's go back to gossiping about non-SCOTUS nominations. In this post, Article III Groupie passed along speculation that the Tenth Circuit seat being vacated by Judge Stephanie Kulp Seymour might go to Judge Terence Kern of the Northern District of Oklahoma, not Judge Claire Eagan (as previously rumored). A UTR reader subsequently wrote in as follows:
I sort of doubt that Judge Kern will take Judge Seymour's seat. Kern is a Clinton appointee. My sources indicate that Chief Judge James H. Payne (E.D. Okla.), a W. appointee to the Oklahoma "roving judgeship" (i.e., N.D., W.D., and E.D.), will get the seat. I think he's the Chief Judge of the Eastern District now, but he still holds the roving judge seat.
Another UTR correspondent brings us some nomination gossip from the south:
Rumor runs rampant that the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, is the President's next nominee for a spot on the E.D.-Ky. bench. Apparently many, many Lexington lawyers have been contacted by the FBI for his background check.
This pick is potentially more interesting than other run-of-the-mill district judgeships, as GVT is a former staffer to Senator Mitch McConnell, and is currently involved to varying degrees in many of the investigations embroiling Kentucky politics these days -- both sides of the aisle are pushing him to go after high-profile Frankfort figures from either party regarding issues ranging from public corruption and illegal patronage hiring to election fraud (the time-honored eastern Kentucky tradition of "vote-hauling," to be precise).
Interesting stuff... If you have any more gossip about judicial nominations -- for example, rumors about possible replacements for Judge Richard L. Nygaard (3d Cir.), who is taking senior status (as noted in reader comments here) -- please email A3G.
* The expression "balls out," by the way, is not dirty. To learn about its origins, click here.