E.J. Dionne has a seemingly sensible plan for Democrats who, after this week's disaster, will want to keep another Roberts or Alito off the bench:
If another conservative replaces a member of the court's moderate-to-liberal bloc, the country will be set on a conservative course for the next decade or more, locking in today's politics at the very moment when the electorate is running out of patience with the right.
That's why a majority of senators should warn Bush now that they will not take up his nominee unless he strictly construes the Constitution's provision that he appoint justices with "the Advice and Consent of the Senate." The rule should be: If the advice isn't taken, there will be no consent.
There is--I think--another, more radical option. Democrats have to bring a controversial piece of legislation (controversial to Republicans, anyhow) forward and get it filibustered. If Reid refuses to bring any further business to the floor of the Senate--puts nothing else on the agenda--he forces Republicans to keep the filibuster open indefinitely. Then they'll either drop their protest and agree to let the bill move forward, or they'll filibuster until session ends and a new president has been sworn into office. That's my understanding anyhow. Could be wrong. But if I'm right, it would be a fantastic way to get Republicans to both filibuster some unpopular piece of legislation--effectively restoring the partial birth abortion, maybe--and block their own Supreme Court nominee at the same time.