Chief Justice Roberts having now been predictably coronated, it is time to discuss who will be ordained to replace O' Connor. One named being tossed about is Georgia attorney, professor, executive, etc., Larry D. Thompson. Thompson is senior vice president and general counsel of PepsiCo., as well as a scholar and trustee of the Brookings Institution. He has a distinguished legal career, most famously as a big shot at King & Spalding, as a U.S. Attorney, and more recently, as Deputy Attorney General in the Bush Administration. He reportedly retired from that post in 2003 to "return to the private sector" (he would flatly deny it, but I can't help feeling it had something to do with differences he had with Ashcroft). He was the main man in charge of anti-terrorism prosecutions. After he left the AG's office in 2003, he returned to Atlanta and his present post at Pepsi, as well as teaching a class at UGA Law School on Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Procedure (a class which, by the way, one member of the crack editiorial staff was in; we won't talk about the grade received).
One of the main reasons that his name is in the pot is, of course, the fact that he's one of a small (although not as small as it used to be) number of conservative minority candidates with the qualifications to be in the pot. And since Bush already picked a white man to fill the spot of one of only two women on the SC once, most are saying there's little chance he'll do it again (although this member of the crack editorial staff isn't necessarily convinced of that).
Personally, gleaning what I could from him as a professor, he would probably be a pretty good candidate, and would probably be much less of an idealogue than some of the Strictly-Constructed Constitution-thumpers on the list. However, that's probably a strike against him from the Bush administration's perspective, especially since Roberts turned out not to be that, at least not overtly (he gave all the right answers on recognizing a right to privacy generally and respecting the precedent of Roe and Casey, e.g.). They're gonna need a real right-winger to keep the base happy.
We'll be following this closely, especially if Thompson somehow ends up being the nominee. Stay tuned.