In an article that should make the White House political team cheer, Politico's Manu Raju and Glenn Thrush are reporting on how the Kagan so far sailed smoothly with nary a storm in sight. The nominee does not have much of a paper trail, has not said anything that is controversial, and has taken few (if any) strong positions. The White House nominated someone that the left can live with and that the right can tolerate. Moreover, a confluence of other issues--in particular the economy, the oil spill, jobs--have overshadowed this nomination. Though it may be too early for the White House to have the victory parade, they can't be faulted if the private celebrations have already started.
The real question is whether the Kagan nomination has provided the perfect recipe for future administrations faced with a Supreme Court vacancy (and maybe Roberts and Alito before her?): find a candidate who does not have a paper trail but has great academic credentials; preferable if candidate is moderate (or perceived as moderate); assure that candidate has never uttered anything controversial to anyone; assure that candidate has been silent about his/her views on controversial issues; nominate; wait a few months; swear-in.
Do we now have a set pattern (and expectations) for Supreme Court nominations?