Thoughts on the Harriet Miers Nomination and Withdrawal

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Written on 2:25 PM by Jack B.

I haven’t written a lot about the Harriet Miers nomination and now that she has withdrawn I’m glad I didn’t. Honestly, I could care less about who the President nominates. It’s not like my two Senators, Chuck E. Cheese Schumer and Queen Hillary, were going to vote for anyone Bush nominates. After all if they didn’t vote for John Roberts, who was as well-qualified and well-prepared as SCOTUS nominee in history and who made his Senate questioners look like petulant children, then they aren’t going to vote for anyone this Republican president puts up (unless said nominee was a known Democrat). So there’s very little point in my caring about whom the President nominates – it’s not like I can do anything about it.

But I do think this nomination and withdrawal of Miers is a teaching moment for this often arrogant White House. There is a line his base, the people who worked to get him elected, are not willing to cross. It’s not good enough to say the President “knows" (wink, wink) that Harriet Miers can be trusted. The same promise was said of Anthony Kennedy and David Souter and conservative Republicans got burned with both. It’s not even good enough for the President to say to his base they should just “trust him” - which with the bloated federal budget, pork barrel spending, non-existent government response to Hurricane Katrina and the quagmire in Iraq it’s getting increasingly difficult to do. Conservatives wanted proof for one that George W. is the conservative he has always claimed to be.

And what do they get instead? A Supreme Court Nominee who seems to have been picked simply because:
1. She was a lawyer
2. She was a female lawyer
3. She was a female lawyer with no paper trail
4. She was George W. Bush’s female lawyer with no paper trail
5. She was George W. Bush’s friend AND female lawyer with no paper trail
Seems to me these are not exactly the qualifications that are most important things one wants in a Supreme Court Justice.

Let’s face it – Harriet Miers was picked because she was a crony and a cipher. Cronyism can be overcome if the person is talented and qualified enough but Ms. Miers (who may indeed be a nice person and as smart as a whip for all I know) was NOT the best lawyer available. She wasn’t the best female lawyer available. Heck, she wasn’t even the best female lawyer from Texas available! So in a case like this calls of cronyism have merit. As for being a cipher – any one who can say with a straight face: “I have never thought about X, Y, or Z and/or have no opinion on it” is either lying (in which case they don’t deserve to have a lifetime appointment to one of the most powerful positions in the country) or ignorant (in which case they don’t deserve to have a lifetime appointment to one of the most powerful positions in the country). In either case, a cipher isn’t going to cut it. And the less of a cipher Ms. Miers the more untenable she became both for the Democratic opposition and the President’s own base. In other words, there wasn’t a chance in hell she was going to get confirmed.

So what was the President thinking in nominating her? Was she a “stealth” conservative nominee designed to fool the Dems? A “moderate” in conservative cloak? Or just a red herring meant to fail? Who cares at this point? But the President must (hopefully) have learnt one thing in this fiasco – when it comes to Supreme Court Justice, unqualified cronies and unknown ciphers need not apply. In other words, John Roberts, si. Harriet Miers, non.

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