‘A NEAR LOCK’…. Whether you find Mark Halperin’s analysis helpful or not, it’s fair to say he has a sense of what the political establishment is thinking. And this morning, Halperin described Judge Sonia Sotomayor as “a near lock,” not only for confirmation, but for an easy confirmation.

Assuming nothing surfaces in Sotomayor’s background that causes controversy, expect her to be seated when the court opens for its new term in October, after thorough confirmation hearings that will seem more like a lovefest than a legal firing squad. By both design and luck, Obama faces a Supreme Court-pick process that has been drained of the tension and combat that has characterized such moments in the past several decades. […]

Obama has chosen a mainstream progressive, rather than a wild-eyed liberal. And he has chosen a rags-to-riches Hispanic woman. Her life story is inspirational — a political consultant’s dream. Since she is certain to be confirmed, there are plenty of smart conservatives who will, by midday Tuesday, have done the political cost-benefit analysis: at a time when Republicans are trying to demonstrate that their party can reach beyond rich white men, what mileage is there in doing anything but celebrating such a historic choice? […]

[U]nless Administration background checkers failed to find what they needed to know about Sotomayor’s history, those spoiling for a battle are not going to get one.

I mention this in large part because Halperin’s take often reflects, if not helps dictate, the conventional wisdom among pundits and the media establishment. If he’s saying this nomination is already a done deal, it makes it that much more difficult to wage an effective campaign against Sotomayor.

Greg Sargent asked this morning, “How do Republicans oppose the first potential Hispanic Supreme Court justice, given their much-vaunted outreach to Latinos in 2006 and 2008, the losses the GOP has suffered with this group given the party’s immigration stands, and the party’s desperate need to expand racially and demographically among such groups?”

Given Sotomayor’s experience, qualifications, and personal background, the answer seems to be, “They don’t.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.