CQ quarterly (subscription required) had a few thoughts on the matter today:
- The president could duck further controversy by declining to resubmit the nominations, "send[ing] a clear signal that the White House [like Senator Frist] lacks the appetite to push for a Senate showdown."
- Like controversial Bush nominees of yore (6th Circuit nominee Henry Saad, DC Circuit nominee Miguel Estrada, 9th Circuit nominee Carolyn Kuhl), the returned nominees could "ask him not to resubmit their names."
- The president could renominate them and then use his authority to make recess appointments, as he did in 2004 with two previously filibustered nominees, Bill Pryor (now on the 11th Circuit for life after the Gang of 14 deal) and Charles Pickering (who was not renominated after his brief stint on the 5th Circuit). But CQ warns of the perils of such a move, saying it "would likely be viewed by Democrats as a drastic re-escalation that could end up backfiring on Bush."