Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ruminations on the Harriet Miers nomination

Leftcoaster posts here on the signs that the White House might be plotting a way out of the Harrier Miers nomination, citing among other things this Washington Times story, titled Insiders see hint of Miers pullout. CQ has this post describing another kind of out for the Bush Administration, which seems plausible enough - the White House can say that it will not waive the privilege covering Ms. Miers' work papers as White House counsel, and the Senate will say then she cannot be approved.

Truth Laid Bear has this list of bloggers for and against the nomination.

Baseball Crank has a lengthy and thoughtful post about why he is opposed to the Miers nomination.

The latest George Will column, titled Defending The Indefensible, has been cited in many places. Will begins: "Such is the perfect perversity of the nomination of Harriet Miers that it discredits, and even degrades, all who toil at justifying it." She might get confirmed, however, because "it is surpassingly difficult to get a majority anywhere to rise in defense of mere excellence."

Patterico has tracked down the passage from The Brethren that comes to mind whenever I hear comparisons between Harriet Miers and Virginia's own Lewis Powell, Jr. (“Bill Douglas, now, he knows what is in those books,” Powell said. “I don’t.”) I think of Powell as a great man, the ideal of the lawyer-citizen from Virginia, but not so great as a justice of the Supreme Court. I don't think he ever thought of himself as a great justice and was reluctant to take the job in the first place. The circumstances of his appointment were much different: Powell accepted the nomination after Judges Carwell and Haynsworth had been rejected by the Senate, and as a former American Bar Association president, his selection neutralized opposition from the ABA. The Bush administration was on a roll with the selection of Chief Justice Roberts and has never given a flying Fig Newton about the ABA, which may yet opine that Harriet Miers is not qualified (or less than "well qualified"). What the ABA committee will say about Miers is "[o]ne of the more interesting questions." For all these reasons, I don't see much likeness between the nomination of Justice Powell and the Miers nomination, except in the sense that Miers seems no more likely to be comfortable (or predictable) while learning on the job than was Powell.

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