The reason I was never as upset as other conservatives about those two making it onto the high court bench was that only the president can nominate somebody so eventually he’s going to get his choice(s) even if it is not his first one.
That being the case, if you are on the other side of the president, you might as well let him nominate bland nonentities that are uncontroversial enough to get through. Those types are never very impressive intellectually.
I think we’ve seen that this week. Yes, Kagan and Sotomayor are down-the-line liberals but anybody else the president picked would have been one as well. So the question of how they would vote was never really at issue. The more pressing question is whether they are smart enough, sharp enough, to sway any of the other justices or poke serious holes in the conservative lawyers’ cases. Neither has shown that ability. They are in fact pretty clearly mental mediocrities. Another Thurgood Marshall or a John Paul Stevens would definitely have been able to win over Kennedy and — who knows? — maybe even Roberts.