When, in the wake of John Paul Stevens’s announced retirement from the Supreme Court, press attention started to focus on candidates for his seat, Merrick Garland seemed like an outlier. Elena Kagan was the Obama favorite who’d been tabbed as his solicitor general and had been confirmed by the Senate. Diane Wood was the legal superstar with a fan base among liberal-leaning court-watchers. And Garland? He was the likable, kind of boring guy who was included, it seemed, because every short list needs three names—and because he served as a safety valve in case the president decided he didn’t want a confirmation fight.
Three weeks on, not everybody sees Garland as an also-ran. The crowd wisdom at the predictions market Intrade, which has bested the pundits before, sees Kagan as the clear front-runner, with Garland and Wood about even in a strong second position. (Volume is low, so caveats apply; for details on how to read the charts, click the “explain” button on the Intrade home page.)
But by another indicator, Garland is a distant third. When The New York Times ran its Kagan profile on April 15, the story appeared on the front page. The Times’s look at Wood, which appeared in print April 22, also snagged a spot on A1. As for the obligatory Garland story, which ran today? It’s on A18, buried at the back of the National section. Maybe that explains the recent slide of his stock on Intrade.