It turns out that John Roberts, Jr. will not be another middle-aged white guy on the Supreme Court. Yeah, Roberts is a middle-aged white guy; but, in fact, the Court doesn't have any others. Roberts will be joining a Court with one (middle-aged) black guy, a white woman (in her 70s), and six more white guys each of 'em old enough to collect full benefits from Social Security. So you can see this nomination as real progress in the direction of diversity on the Supreme Court.
What more to say? He's apparently a very good lawyer. He's a pillar of the Federalist Society and the Washington conservative establishment, described by a friend as “as conservative as you can get.” But he's spent the key years of his professional career either in the (Reagan) Solicitor General's office, where the positions in the briefs he submitted didn't necessarily reflect his personal opinions, or as a litigator at Hogan and Hartson, where the positions in the briefs he submitted … didn't necessarily reflect his personal opinions. So he's got no paper trail.
He'll be confirmed, but there'll be fireworks first. How Appealing reminds us that during Roberts's last Senate Judiciary hearing, Orrin Hatch took the position that fellow Judiciary Committee member Charles Schumer was asking Roberts “dumbass questions” (and Roberts, for what it's worth, didn't answer them). Expect more of the same.
CORRECTION: I made an error, above, in describing Roberts's bio. While he spent four years in the White House Counsel's Office under Reagan, his stint as Principal Deputy Solicitor General was under Bush I.