If you haven't seen it yet, you really should take a look at this post over at Political Arithmetik. Fascinating display of median voter theory made somewhat tangible.

But how much is it [the Alito nomination] likely to matter for the alignment of the Court? Both sides will claim much but the evidence is not so much.

More important for those pundits making their paychecks pontificating on TV about the coming shift in the court, things might not be so easy to read:

If Roberts and Alito turn out to be near Thomas and Scalia, Kennedy will actually be closer to the liberal wing. As such, a stronger conservative wing of the court could drive the swing vote to the left.

Not being a student of the SCOTUS, I'm not too aware of the real power behind the Chief Justice role. I'd suggest that the agenda-setting power (primarily the role of presiding over the process that reviews which cases to hear) of the Roberts position might have some ability to consistently keep the conservative faction in control of the general path of the Court, but that could be entirely moot.


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