The Plank dredged up a 2007 short list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president.

One of the people on it is Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. He is still governor but has written such a dreary record in the office that I doubt even his friend, who happens to be the president of the United States, would risk sending his name to the senate. Not because it wouldn't pass muster on Capitol Hill. But because it wouldn't past muster with what the American people expect from Barack Obama.

Of the others, Merrick Garland is about as scholarly, as practical and as genuinely liberal as one might expect. He would bring to the Supremes the disposition of Steve Breyer. Not a bad model to have another such exemplar.

Another person on the list Elena Kagan is now solicitor general after having served as Larry Summer's choice as dean of the Harvard Law School. She is on everybody's register, and for good reason.

One obvious candidate for the post is Cass Sunstein. Not because he has been the most active writer on many topics as contributing editor to TNR. Also not because he is a new father of a baby boy whose mother is Cass's wife, Samatha Power. But because he is a very powerful brain and knows a lot about everything.

Not an impoverished choice that the president will have, not at all.

And, then, there is Harriet Miers. About on a par with George.