The Fat Lady Is Singing Has Sung

National Review has a piece on the legacy of Mier’s failed nomination. My opposition to Miers was based less on ideology (although I don’t think she would have been a strict constructionist), but on qualifications. In the words of Hamilton, Miers struck me as little more than an “obsequious object” of Bush who simply didn’t have the intellectual rigor to be a member of the Supreme Court.

A justice on the Supreme Court needs a sharp and incisive legal mind, and Ms. Miers writing and statements indicated that she simply didn’t have what it takes. She may be a nice person, a good litigator, and is clearly an individual of character, but that doesn’t qualify one for the highest court in the land.

The editors of NR are right – this is no cause for celebration. It is a cause for relief. The President put Miers in an untenable position, and that reflects as badly on the White House’s utter lack of vetting as it does on Ms. Miers.

President Bush has an opportunity to do things right – to find a justice with the right legal qualifications who will see the Constitution as a set of enduring guiding principles rather than a roadblock to be overcome. There are plenty of people with excellent legal credentials and diverse experiences who would serve this nation well and ensure that our founding document is treated with the respect that it deserves.

UPDATE: Well, my prediction was very much correct. Harriet Miers has withdrawn herself as a nominee to the Supreme Court. Already, Erick Erickson has some insights as to who might be taking her place.

My prediction: Miers will withdraw within the next 48 hours. I can’t see this nomination continuing.

Captain Ed is off the fence and against Miers. Paul Mirengoff has done a 180 and put himself with the majority who oppose Miers. Leonardo Leo of the Federalist Society, one of the people responsible for helping Bush with the nomination has dropped out of that position.

The Miers nomination is DOA. If she doesn’t withdraw, she won’t make it through the Judiciary Committee, and she almost certainly does not have the votes to be nominated on the Senate floor. GOP Senators know quite well that there’s absolutely no political price to pay for defying the Bush Administration (see Senators McCain, Frist, Thune, etc…), so they have no reason to alienate their conservative base and vote for Miers. Democrats love to see Bush fail, and they’ll get yet another chance to draw blood with Miers.

This whole sordid affair has completely blown up in the already beleaguered faces of the Administration. Miers has demonstrated that the she’s not only unqualified for the position, but that her core beliefs are as changeable as the season – neither of which are appropriate for a strong conservative Supreme Court justice. President Bush has divided his base at the worst possible time, done a ham-fisted and half-assed job of supporting his nominee, and given plenty of new ammo for his critics – and even some of his friends.

It is simply time for Miers to go before this particular sinking ship takes more people down with it.

7 thoughts on “The Fat Lady Is Singing Has Sung

  1. Damn. I was hoping she would make it to the Senate floor and bear the wrath of Republican Senators, thus maximizing the embarrassment for the Bush administration and exposing Republican Senators as spoiled brats beholden to Ivy League elitism and out of touch with their own rank-and-file who repeatedly send them to Washington so that people exactly like Harriet Miers can make it to the Supreme Court. With Miers out of the picture, Bush has the opportunity to undo this PR mess, nominate a foaming ideological nutjob like Janis Rogers Brown or Michael Luttig, and get both elitist conservatives and evangelicals back on board with the Democrats again being the enemy instead of Bush. Harriet Miers will be completely forgotten in another two weeks, much to the chagrin of Democrats who had nothing to lose and everything to gain with Miers dominating the headlines and inspiring drunk-with-power Republicans to cannibalize one another.

    On the other hand, Democrats now have the leverage to filibuster whatever extremist Bush replaces Miers with, a point Harry Reid quickly picked upon with this morning’s blistering critique of Miers being obliterated by “radical right wing extremists in the GOP.” Translation: for all the talk by Republicans that judge nominees are entitled to an up-or-down vote, that thesis only applies to nominees in lockstep alignment with their own caricature of what a Supreme Court justice should be. Anyone who doesn’t fit that criteria deserves to be removed from the process. After what the GOP pulled out in crushing Harriet Miers’ nomination, they no longer have any basis for their insistence that Democrats be denied the right to filibuster nominees they deem unacceptable.

  2. Jay you perdicted it take a well deserved bow !! I have heard the media talking points that the left now will immediately brand the next justice a radical and (I can only hope) trigger the filibuster…Go Mark GO

  3. Predicting the withdrawal of Harriet Miers’ nomination this week was about as bold as predicting that Utah was gonna go for George Bush last year. Unfortunately for the White House, their timing wasn’t as good as they hoped, seeing as how the indictments of Rove and Libby didn’t fall today. For once, their weapon of mass distraction didn’t work.

    As for filibusters, Republicans ceded the moral high ground with their petulance over the fact that Harriet Miers didn’t have an Ivy League background (this from the party who have essentially made disdain for intellectualism a prerequisite for public service). If the Republicans replace Miers with the kind of bomb thrower most conservatives are hoping for, the Democrats are gonna have an airtight case for employing the filibuster when elitist big mouths in the conservative punditocracy essentially engaged in a filibuster of their own against Miers.

  4. As for filibusters, Republicans ceded the moral high ground with their petulance over the fact that Harriet Miers didn’t have an Ivy League background (this from the party who have essentially made disdain for intellectualism a prerequisite for public service).

    Except that isn’t the case. Not having an Ivy League background isn’t a disqualification from being a nominee for SCOTUS. Not having any Constitutional Law experience most assuredly is.

    Just another silly little Mark strawman…

  5. Mark,

    1) Arguing someone isn’t up to snuff for the SC hardly makes one elitist. While I read one or two people who mentioned her schooling, the fact remains that there is nothing in her background that distinguishes her as somebody with the intellectual mettle for the SC. Nothing. She may be competent as an attorney, but so are millions of other practicing attorneys. If she had gone to a diploma mill, then made her mark in the world of law, there’d be no problem. But alas, she has done no such thing.

    2) Republicans, naturally, expect somebody who is center-right to be nominated. I see nothing wrong with this. If Clinton had nominated someone who is pro-life, etc., I’d expect his base to angry, and I’d understand it. What’s far more disturbing about Miers, however, is her lack of convictions. This isn’t “growing,” it’s more like a flavor of the month. She does not appear to be grounded in any particular theory or philosophy at all. Someone can change their mind, but I, for one, don’t believe someone is ready for the SC who doesn’t have at least some core beliefs or principles as a starting point. She’s all over the map, and contradicting herself to boot.

    3) Did you read any of her speeches or writings? Unimpressive, to be charitable. I think the reaction of many, especially after reading some of her writings and speeches, was “This is the best we can do?” She may be competent, nice, blah blah blah. Well, so am I. Should I be nominated next? The argument is that she’s out in the real world, different perspective. Hey, I’ll give an even further different perspective – I’m not an attorney at all! A nice, competent, unexceptional, non-attorney. Jerry for SCOTUS! If nothing else, anyone who reads what she’s written will realize that she’s out of her league here. Of course, I’m sure “most serious people” disagree with me…


  6. Jerry, I’m by no means a Harriet Miers fan. Considering her background as a hack for corporate robber barons, I’d almost prefer another Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who at least have a more compulsive allegiance to a narrow interpretration of the Constitution than a compulsive allegiance to fatten Wall Street stock portfolios by whatever means necessary. Furthermore, I have read her writings, am familiar with her background, and agree with much of what you said about her being unqualified. If I was a position to vote for or against her, I’d be hard-pressed to vote in the affirmative.

    As a Democratic partisan whose primary political objective is seeing the Bush administration weakened, I am nonetheless regretful that the Miers nomination process did not at least make it onto the Senate floor, where it would have created a more public embarrassment for the administration when the guillotine ultimately fell. With her nomination withdrawn before the hearings began, she’ll be a mere footnote who won’t rise to the level of embarrassing the Bush administration or widening the schism in the Republican Party, thus helping the red-state rank-and-file realize they’re means political pawns in a game where the big boys always win.

    And that’s the foundation of my argument about Miers’ academic merits, or lack thereof. George Bush’s Presidency was attained by convincing the public that a “personal relationship with God” better enables one to make the right decisions than a resume full of stuffy credentials, and a means to a political end, the “movement conservatives” concurred. Bush apparently misinterpreted this as a validation of “outsider status” that extends beyond him. The rank-and-file red-staters who would consider Harriet Miers one of their own should definitely recognize at this point that they’ve been duped, because for all the faux-populism conservatives have sold them by winkingly validating their “education=elitism” worldview, it turns out that a “personal relationship with God” isn’t good enough for conservative power players after all.

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