The legal blog noncuratlex has links to some old memos from the Reagan administration when considering whether to nominate Robert Bork for the Supreme Court, first in 1986 (when Scalia ended up being the nominee), then in 1987, when Bork was nominated but voted down by the Senate.
The memos are really interesting. The first one is mostly about whether Bork would be likely to be confirmed and it concludes, wrongly as it turns out, that he would essentially breeze through the process. But that was not a controversial conclusion; when Bork was nominated, I don’t think anyone anticipated how it would turn out. The memo notes, for example, that when he was nominated for the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, Bork was easily confirmed and received the votes of all of the prominent Democratic senators who were considered influential on such matters (Biden, Kennedy, Leahy and Howard Metzenbaum). It also notes that Biden had told a meeting of Senate staffers that he would vote to confirm Bork for the Supreme Court, and that Bork was considered “much older and less radical than some of the other alternatives.”
That memo also argues that the press will be “kind” to Bork because he had supported Evans and Novak in a libel case against them. But perhaps most amusingly, the memo says that Bork is “supposed to be a tremendously warm human being and very witty.” He certainly came off as anything but warm and witty during his confirmation hearings. He came across as arrogant and snarly.