Tuesday, July 19, 2005

“Look at the Kitty!”

President Bush is planning to announce his selection to fill the Supreme Court vacany tonight at 9:00 pm. According to news reports, it will be Edith Clement of the US Court of Appeals in New Orleans. (We’ll see.)

I’m not a lawyer or a follower of the courts, so I don’t know anything about her. It is apparent, though, that the announcement has been sped up to get Karl Rove off the front pages.

White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the process, said Bush’s timetable appears to have been accelerated and that a choice could come as early as Tuesday. They said Clement is a leading candidate, but cautioned that the president had not made a final decision and that there were other prospects still in the mix.

Any announcement would turn the spotlight in Washington toward the Supreme Court vacancy and away from news about Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, and the ongoing federal probe into who leaked the name of a CIA officer.

It’s what’s known in the world of magicians as a “plausible diversion.” Here in my office we call it a “Look at the kitty!” moment, as in:

SUPERVISOR: What happened to last month’s report on unspent funds?

ME: Oh, look at the kitty!

It works for a little while, but pretty soon I have to come up with the dreaded report, and the kitty gets forgotten. So don’t breathe easy yet, Karl.