The Political Supreme Court
It is nearly impossible to avoid politics during the appointments of high profile positions; therefore, the idea that Supreme Court is above politics when referring to its appointments is giving to much credit to that entity. The appointments of the Supreme Court, as with any political body, correlate no only to the media's portraying, but also to interest group the President wishes to appease.
A very recent example of the politics involved in Supreme Court appointments was the 2001 election. It was assumed that the next president would probably be making three new appointment to the Supreme Court. Because of this fact, the president could use this politial power to his advantage: that is to sway interest groups that had not previously supported him. For example, since Bush's female support was not that high because of his stance on abortion, it would help him a great deal to nominate a female to the Supreme Court. A female to the Supreme Court adds many points to Bush's plate because it appeases the female audience as well as the Pro-Choice activists. His second appointment would probably be more conservative to appease his Republican interest groups.
Continuing on this idea of appeasing interest groups, their are a few major bodies that have political weight in the appointments of the Supreme Court. It seems obvious that an appointment that is made will not be made to hurt reputation only to enhance. Therefore, the president would desire to appease the most interest groups possible with each appointment. In consideration when making appointments would obviously be the candidates gender, race (to appease members of less represented minorities), religious affiliation (their stance on abortion et. al), possibility of judicial activism or restraint, and partisan...