I find all the hoopla surrounding Supreme Court nominations to be, to some degree, humorous. I would agree that they are important decisions and I would also agree that you want people on the court who have an obvious understanding of the law and the experience to support that. The part that I find interesting is the vigor and vehemence with which the "other" side objects to the nominee.
Right now we are seeing the Republicans have a conniption fit with the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. If you watch the news or read the paper, no doubt you have heard about how Obama picked a "liberal" or a "judicial activist" and other terms meant to emphasize their perception of her "liberalness". Common sense would dictate that of course Obama would nominate a liberal. He is a liberal President. It stands to reason that he is going to nominate someone who shares his world view and position on controversial issues.
We saw this same type of reaction when George W. Bush had two nominations and used them on Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Democrats were outraged that he would put people who were so far right on the bench. Considering he is probably the most conservative President in our history it makes perfect sense. Like Obama, Bush wanted people on the SCOTUS who were similar in ideology to himself.
While I can understand each side's disappointment in the other's choice, the outright indignation each side displays is what is funny. Are any of these nominations truly a surprise? Did anyone honestly expect Obama to nominate a conservative anymore than anyone would have honestly expected Bush to nominate a liberal or even a moderate? Each side can go ahead and be upset with the other side's choice but to feign this righteous indignation is simply asinine.