Some of what I have is speculation. Some of what I have comes from my source. Some of what I have comes from others in the know. Most of what I have is from my source, which is why I’ll run with it all.

First, a caveat (and a homage to the Note’s notiness). Everyone seems to be getting in line with the information that I’ve been given from someone I consider extremely credible. But, now the “inside the beltway” chatter has begun among the Gang of 500TM. How much now of what I have and what other news sources have and what other talking heads have and what the Gang has is the same information, circulated between us, parroting what each of us has obtained from each other without realizing it? Even my source admits to keeping up with the chatter. But given the source’s job and place of employment, I’d say the source, like the shadow, knows and the Gang of 500 is on to something.

So, drumroll for today’s edition of speculation, which is actually Monday night’s speculation, but I could not release it until permission was obtained via Instant Message a short while ago.

Rehnquist is out. It’ll happen on July 5 [Ed. — but why not do it earlier so the Gang can have a 3 day weekend to mull the implications and feel out the Senate before announcing a replacement on Tuesday?!] POTUS is leaning toward Luttig.

If, however, O’Connor beats CJ to the White House (though POTUS & Co., Inc. does not expect her till Labor Day), we go with Garza first and Luttig second.

If Luttig doesn’t want it, we go with John Roberts next — Rehnquist is pushing Roberts. Roberts is a Rehnquist protege.

If O’Connor does go at Labor Day and women are not back on board GWB’s bus (a current POTUS & Co., Inc. concern), he scraps Garza and goes with Edith Brown Clements, an under the radar conservative from the 5th Circuit.

If any other spot opens, he goes with (a) Gonzales or (b) a sitting United States Senator from a state that currently has a Republican governor. Oh, and there just might be a third spot opening, but not until after January 1. Your guess is as good as mine on that one. Until then people in New York and Chicago will be speculating.

Source does tell me that POTUS1 really, really, really wants Gonzales and “POTUS is POTUS” but knows the political calculus of a Gonzales nomination would be devastating to the base and to the 14 who have to either vote for a possible Souter or vote against the first Hispanic nominee and then go on and try to get re-elected next year.

1Did people really start talking like that until the West Wing came on air? Or can we blame Mark Halperin?