WASHINGTON, DC—In a press conference Monday, President Bush named a 72-day-old gestating fetus as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat that opened following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

"Already, this experienced and capable embryo has demonstrated during his or her in utero existence a deep commitment to the core principles of the Constitution," Bush said. "It is with great pride that I nominate this unborn American patriot to the highest court in the land."

If confirmed by Congress, the bean-sized vertebrate would be the nation's first prenatal Supreme Court justice.

The unnamed fetus, who made headlines only three weeks ago when he or she was appointed to the Virginia State Supreme Court after working at a private law practice for five hours, has enjoyed a meteoric career in American jurisprudence. A remarkable prodigy who graduated from Georgetown Law School mere days after his or her neural folds fused, the nominee reportedly shares much of the conservative, pro-business philosophy of the Bush White House.

Nevertheless, Capitol Hill sources say that his or her nomination comes as a surprise. Legal observers had anticipated that Bush would name a prominent conservative like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, or the second-trimester female fetus that heads the legal department of Molson Coors Brewing Company, or former Solicitor General Theodore Olson.

"The fetus's judicial record, though extremely limited, is quite impressive," said Carolyn Scuitto, a professor of constitutional law at Yale University. "Last week, it authored a majority opinion overturning an appellate court ruling that found that a Virginia-based insurance company had insufficiently disclosed rate increases to its customers."

Scuitto added: "Bear in mind that the judge has fingerless stubs for arms and still sports traces of a tail."

The fetus first attracted attention several days after making its way up the fallopian tubes to the uterus, when it authored an opinion piece critical of class-action lawsuits for The Legal Intelligencer. In the article, he or she addressed conflicting opinions about the nature of blame and responsibility, and argued for reforms that would check plaintiff attorney conduct.

The nominee's positions on capital punishment, gun control, and abortion are still unknown.

Unborn advocacy groups are applauding Bush's choice.

"We couldn't be happier with the president's selection," said M118-P, the unfertilized ovum spokesglobule for Gametes United For Pre-Life, based in Montgomery, AL. "The unborn and preconceived alike have long been underrepresented on the bench."

Despite his or her relative lack of courtroom experience, experts believe the nominee stands a good to excellent chance of confirmation.

"With its precocious intelligence and adorable pocket size, the fetus could very well prove to be the moderate 'consensus candidate' many on Capitol Hill have hoped for," said attorney, author, and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz. "And with its confirmation to a lifetime appointment on the bench, Bush ensures that his presidential legacy will last until about 2089."