As I’ve suggested previously, I believe we may be seeing a new Supreme Court nominee feeder – Justice Thomas – and a new Supreme Court feeder system…the state Supreme Courts. Lacking the ability to appoint judges to the U.S. Courts of Appeal during an Obama Presidency, but in an effort to culture (and observe) future Republican Supreme Court nominees, it seems that the Republicans may be tapping a new route to the High Court. It’s not clear whether state Supreme Courts will be as effective as federal appellate courts as a petri dish for studying a judge’s political commitments. But they might be. I’m sure that the Republicans would do anything to avoid the blind-side hit that came with the appointment of Justice Souter (after less than two years on the First Circuit.) And if someone – like a Justice Stras – can be battle tested the first day of a Republican Presidency (and under the age of 45, while he’s at it), that would give tremendous flexibility to that new President in the case of a quick vacancy.