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What Julie Myers is to the Department of Homeland Security, Harriet Miers is to the Supreme Court. (Video of the announcement here via NYT).) It’s not just that Miers has zero judicial experience. It’s that she’s so transparently a crony/”diversity” pick while so many other vastly more qualified and impressive candidates went to waste. If this is President Bush’s bright idea to buck up his sagging popularity–among conservatives as well as the nation at large–one wonders whom he would have picked in rosier times. Shudder.
Reax around the right side of the blogosphere is mostly negative–and brutally so…
John Hinderaker at Power Line: “A disappointment.”
David Frum at NRO:
I worked with Harriet Miers. She’s a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated … I could pile on the praise all morning. But nobody would describe her as one of the outstanding lawyers in the United States. And there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or – and more importantly – that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left.
I am not saying that she is not a legal conservative. I am not saying that she is not steely. I am saying only that there is no good reason to believe either of these things. Not even her closest associates on the job have [any] good reason to believe either of these things. In other words, we are being asked by this president to take this appointment purely on trust, without any independent reason to support it. And that is not a request conservatives can safely grant.
Glenn Reynolds: “Perhaps they’ll change my mind, but so far I’m underwhelmed.”
Mike Krempasky at Red State: “A promise kept? Who the hell knows?” Mike supplies a, uh, diverse list of Miers’ political donations to the likes of Al Gore and the DNC and writes: “Mr. President, you’ve got some explaining to do. And please remember – we’ve been defending you these five years because of this moment.”
Lawblogger Feddie at Southern Appeal:
Harriet Miers? Are you freakin’ kidding me?!
Can someone–anyone–make the case for Justice Miers on the merits? Seriously, this is the best the president could do?
And what really sticks in my craw is the president’s unwillingness to have a national debate about the proper method of interpreting the Constitution. I suppose I should have seen this coming when White House staffers freaked out over Chief Justice Roberts’s ties to the Federalist Society.
Thanks for nothing, Mr. President. You had better pray that Justice Miers is a staunch judicial conservative, because if she turns out to be another O’Connor then the Republican Party is in for a world of hurt.
David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy lists a few positive things about Miers, but writes:
“[M]y initial reaction is that it’s unfortunate (but not surprising) that for both Supreme Court nominations, the president has chosen well-connected insiders with ties to the executive branch, rather than individuals who are more likely to bring a more “independent” perspective to issues of government and especially presidential power. And appointing his “personal lawyer” from Texas seems very Lyndon Johnsonish, and is hardly likely to repel recent charges of Bush Administration cronyism.”
Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSblog has a prediction based on the current political dynamic:
I have no view on whether she should be confirmed (it’s simply too early to say), but will go out on a limb and predict that she will be rejected by the Senate. In my view, Justice O’Connor will still be sitting on the Court on January 1, 2006.
Confederate Yankee on Bush’s skills as a uniter: “It seems that President Bush has managed to do what many would have though[t] was almost impossible: he achieved a near-consensus from political bloggers on both the right and left, who overwhelmingly seem to agree that Harriet Miers was an underwhelming selection to replace Sandra Day O’Connor…”
“The reaction of many conservatives today will be that the president has made possibly the most unqualified choice since Abe Fortas, who had been the president’s lawyer. The nomination of a nominee with no judicial record is a significant failure for the advisers that the White House gathered around it.”
Bob Byers also makes the Myers/Miers connection.
John Hawkins at Right Wing News: Disaster, thy name is Harriet Miers.
Miers was chosen for two reasons and two reasons alone: 1. she’s a she; 2. she’s a long-time Bush friend. Otherwise, there’s nothing to distinguish her from thousands of other lawyers. And holding a high post in the Bar, which the White House seems to be touting, is like holding a high position in any professional organization. But it reveals nothing about the nominee’s judicial philosophy. There are many top officials in the Bar who I wouldn’t trust to handle a fender-bender. Also, early in his term, the president singled out the Bar for its partisan agenda and excluded it from a formal role in judicial selection. The president said he would pick a candidate like Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas, and he did not. We all know of outstanding individuals who fit that bill, and they were once again passed over. Even David Souter had a more compelling resume that Miers.
Ankle Biting Pundits: Ugh!
And in case you missed it, here’s Diana West’s excellent column on how another close Texas female confidante of the president’s is faring in her new job. Blechh.
Marvin Olasky is blogging in support of the Miers’ nomination over at the World Magazine blog.
Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters (happy 2nd blogiversary!) is mystified.
Stephen Bainbridge: Count me appalled.
Gerry Daly and The Five Stages.
WaPo profile of Miers.
10/29/04 online transcript: Harriet Miers hosts “Ask the White House”
Nov 2004 White House announcement of Miers as Counsel to the President