Well, well, well…

This is certainly surprising.

In announcing his decision in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, Mr. Reid questioned Judge Roberts’s commitment to civil rights and said he was “very swayed” by the civil rights and women’s rights leaders who testified Thursday in opposition to the nomination – and with whom Mr. Reid met privately that same day. Liberal advocacy groups, who raise millions of dollars to support Democratic candidates and who have been putting intense pressure on Democrats to oppose the nomination, were elated.

With the White House considering how to fill a second Supreme Court vacancy, Mr. Reid could be using his vote on Judge Roberts to send a message to President Bush to fill that position with a moderate, in the mold of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a critical swing vote, who is retiring. Along with three other senior senators, Mr. Reid is expected to meet Mr. Bush for breakfast Wednesday to discuss the vacancy.

Explaining his decision on Judge Roberts, Mr. Reid said in his Senate speech that he simply had “too many unanswered questions” about the nominee, who he complained had refused to distance himself from seemingly callous writings while a lawyer for the Reagan administration, including a memorandum in which he used the term “illegal amigos” to refer to illegal immigrants.

I agree that, upon hearing Roberts’s answers to Dems questions, I certainly was left wanting. He very skillfully avoided the queries, citing that the topics they raised “could” come up in the future. Well, of course, but I really don’t think that’s a good reason. Roberts is young and could be in his position for a very, VERY long time. Personally, I think he should have answered more questions, but his position was still defensible.

And just to be clear, something tells me he could still be a very balanced SCOTUS Chief Justice. At least I desperately hope…

So what do centrists thinks?

One centrist Democrat, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, said Tuesday that he had “not seen anything that would cause me to vote against” confirmation of Judge Roberts to be the nation’s 17th chief justice.

Interesting. So what could have swayed Reid’s decision? I mean, some say he’s a pro-life Dem, although he denies this is the case. However, he’s the only Mormon in Congress who’s a Dem, and he did vote against support of Roe v. Wade in ’94.

A balanced voice? Quite possibly, although the Roe v. Wade vote certainly makes me nervous.

The story has more about Reid’s decision…

Last Thursday, as Mr. Reid was weighing his decision, representatives of about 40 advocacy groups met with him in the Capitol; the reason, they said, was to underscore the threat they believe Judge Roberts poses to Democrats’ core causes, racial and gender equality. Hovering in the background was a political argument, that if Democrats vote in favor of Judge Roberts, they will be held liable by voters for the decisions he makes on the court.

“He got the message loud and clear, didn’t he?” Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said of Mr. Reid on Tuesday.

Indeed. He certainly got the message, whatever that may have been.

Listen, I think Reid is positioning himself as a tough Dem critic against the next nomination. I could be dead wrong, but it certainly follows.

More from MSNBC and the LA Times

Politics Reid Says No To Roberts