Barack Obama will soon nominate a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and the question of the month is whether that confirmation process will be smooth, or rough, or somewhere in between. The answer may depend in large part on who Obama picks, but as a proxy, many have pointed to Democrats ability (or lack thereof) to get Dawn Johnsen confirmed as the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
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A better proxy, though, might be Obama's first federal court nominee. Obama tapped David Hamilton to fill a vacancy on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and, despite a moderate record on the bench, he's already running into some trouble.
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans boycotted his first nomination hearing, and Sen. James Inhofe threatened to filibuster his confirmation, and now, after Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) became the panel's ranking member, Republicans are dragging their feet once again.