We're not entirely sure why we bother reporting what Robert Novak says anymore, but sometimes we just can't help ourselves. As confirmation hearings begin for John G. Roberts, Novak is saying that there's now a "front-runner" in the race to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and her name is Priscilla Owen.
Owen, the staunchly conservative Texas judge with a strong antiabortion track record, was confirmed to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in May on a mostly party-line, 55-43 vote as part of the nuclear-option-averting deal struck by the Senate's Gang of 14. Novak says that George W. Bush met secretly with her last week, and he suggests that much should be read into the meeting, since Bush already knows Owen fairly well and had no need to get acquainted with her. As Novak notes, Owen and Bush sometimes campaigned together when he was running for governor and she was running for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court. Karl Rove worked as an advisor for both of them.