A casual observer new to American politics could be mistaken for assuming that the Supreme Court is an organization whose duty and purpose consists almost solely in setting rules and regulations regarding abortion.
People on both the left and the right get excited about individual cases for anywhere between a week and a month or two. But when new justices are considered and discussed, abortion dominates the discussion.
Abortion is an important issue, and one which will come before the court many more times. However, it is far from the only issue worthy of concern and discussion. The Court will doubtlessly take up cases of sweeping importance on issues ranging from the scope of powers of the executive branch to boundary conditions on the Bill of Rights. Yet most of the pundits, the news editors, and the interest groups don't try to engender discussion on those issues. Do they think people don't care about the constitution? Did people not learn the Bill of Rights in school? Or do people stop paying attention to politics if fetuses are not involved?
Lots of Democrats seemed to support Harriet Miers because she wasn't an ultra-right conservative. Aside from seeming rather politically jaded, this is very concerning. It seemed to me that the biggest problem with Miers as a potential Supreme was that she didn't seem to know anything about constitutional law. The second biggest problem was that she's the current president's personal lawyer, which means she would be in a position to decide the constitutionality of policies she'd advised the president to enact.
I wasn't able to follow the Alito hearings while I was in Utah. So I was rather disappointed when I listened to NPR this evening and learned that "All Things" was really just "Abortion Politics."