MIERS SINKS to the bottom of the political sea and what nominee will next launch into what are sure to be rough and uncharted waters [story] With all of the skipper Bush’s troubles and the recent rupture in the hull of the once unsinkable Republican ship, opinions diverge on who really will reign in the storm of the next political battle. With Bush insistent that Miers was the best qualified candidate before, how will the apparently less qualified fare in the foul weather ahead?
Among those considered candidates are several federal appeals court judges -- notably Samuel A. Alito Jr., Emilio Garza, J. Michael Luttig, Edith Hollan Jones, Edith Brown Clement, Priscilla Owen, Michael W. McConnell, Janice Rogers Brown and J. Harvie Wilkinson III. Also widely mentioned as possibilities are Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, former deputy attorney general Larry D. Thompson, prominent constitutional lawyer Maureen Mahoney and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan.
OH, AND WHO will tell Bush he had his head up in his um clouds if he thought Miers was so qualified? Does anyone in the White House really believe the line they sold on privilege as the reason she withdrew? If the White House hasn’t come back to reality on Miers, the days ahead are sure to bring the good folks there back to earth. Back to earth and possibly buried as well. RECOMMENDED READING A QUICK DOUBLE PLAY Matt to Ezra to Mark.
THE HERETIK NOTES elections mid term and presidential are not so far off that certain senators will not be swayed by their own ambitions to separate themselves from Bush who now reeks of the flopsweat of a loser.
IN ADDITION KLEIN COMES CLEAN [Ezra Klein/ TAP] Over at The National Review, Kathryn Lopez has written the single weirdest response to Harriet Miers' withdrawal that I've yet seen:
You know what the relief is this morning? A return to the feeling that this president gets the big things right. There was a detour, but I’m confident we’re going to have good news shortly on SCOTUS, because this president tends to get the big things right. That’s the confidence so many of us have always had in him. And we may have been worried about our assessment for a few weeks there, but there's a renewed confidence this morning.
Wasn't the whole Miers fiasco, to The National Review, an example of getting a Big Thing wrong?
THE HERETIK REPEATS the dictum of the weak for the week: Stupid is as stupid does. The Heretik would never pretend to be better than Ezra here, but it seems certain Republicans are buying in to the idea that the fuhrer in the bunker just had a bad moment on the way to world conquest. A fresh new battle awaits. Shock troops other than the shell shocked Bush may be needed for the Republicans to win on not just this nomination, but in the elections later.
A CODA [Echidne] And this is where the Supreme Court comes in and why the nominations matter so very much. One day, sooner than you can believe, George Bush is history, but whomever he nominates on the SCOTUS will not be.
AS PREDICTED from the first day of creation of this nominee, Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination. [story]
Harriet Miers withdrew this morning as a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
In announcing the decision, Miers and President Bush cited their concern with the requests of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for documents dealing with her work as White House Counsel that the administration has chosen to withhold as privileged.
AND NOW the holy war begins.
RECOMMENDED READING [Jack Grant/ The Moderate Voice] It appears they took the "out" offered by the Senate Judiciary Committee when both Democrats AND Republicans requested documents that are protected both by executive privilege and by attorney-client confidentiality. From MSNBC.com:
Bush blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege. [text of Miers letter]
THE HERETIK SEES BUSH again blames others where he alone is to blame. If a less qualified candidate were not available, The Heretik cannot say. The only reason this executive privilege canard is offered is because Miers didn’t have more personal reasons to withdraw like a nanny.
[Pam Spaulding/ Pandagon]She puts herself out of her misery. The wingers really took her out, though that first questionnaire gave both the left and the right enough ammo to make hearings a complete disaster for the Admin. Earlier this AM they were talking about the submission of her "do-over" questionnaire, but I guess she won't need to crib anymore. Next up: the Chimp is going to probably push one of the Right's shining stars of AmTalibannery.
THE HERETIK SEES dark clouds on the horizon. Whether they are of the mushroom variety is as yet unknown. Hello, Michael Luttig.
THE KRAUTHAMMER OPTION WINS OUT [Captain’s Quarters] The face-saving withdrawal option presented by Sam Brownback and Linsday Graham took only a matter of days to get recognized by the White House. Good for them. It won't save them from some criticism, but it will make this into the nine-day wonder it should always have been.
Now can we nominate a candidate whose qualities and track record presumes we control the Senate?
THE HERETIK HOPES the Democrats don’t take too much pride in having nuked Miers’s nomination. A candidate whose qualities and record presume we control the Senate? Hello, Janice Rogers Brown. If the Dems couldn’t stop her last time, what makes them think they could stop her now?
AND MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUE SAYS [AP] Sen. Trent, R-Miss., told Fox News that the nomination had been a bad idea. "Let's move on," he said. "In a month, who will remember the name Harriet Miers."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Miers capable but added, "This clearly was the wrong position for her."
"The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who had recommended Miers to the president.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist spoke with White House chief of staff Andy Card Wednesday night and offered a "frank assessment of the situation in the committee and in the full Senate," Frist spokesman Bob Stevenson said.
AND THE LESS DISTINGUISHED HERETIK adds we are now minus one Miers. Will the Democrats problems multiply with the next nominee or can the Dems only look forward to more internal discord and division the Republicans themselves so recently revealed?
NO McKRAP TM HERE UPSIDE FOR MIERS IN THIS DOWN TIME [Tom Maguire/ Just One Minute] Another slow news day.Well, she picked a good day to step aside, if she wants to avoid attention. No hint on whether Fitzgerald planned to indict her.
MIERS WILL BE THE LAST to know she is getting dumped. Strategies for her withdrawal are already speculated upon. Still one must ask who suffers the greatest delusion and will it only grow worse? Are Bush’s shoes so far removed from fair earth he thought Miers would fly? What rage will he suffer should she crash? And will the Miers who thought Bush the greatest governor still think him the greatest President if he abandons her by asking for her to withdraw?
DO NOT MOURN too much for Miers. If she doesn’t get what Bush wants for her even more than she wants for herself, a book she writes later on what the right did to her and how Bush left her may leave us wanting more. Single white female Miers knows where all the bodies about Bush lie. Will he and we be ready for her truth?
RECOMMENDED READING THE RIGHT RAMPS UP [WaPo] Conservative activists intensified their opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers yesterday, launching two Web sites and planning radio and television advertising aimed at forcing her withdrawal. THE HERETIK SAYS jeez, two websites! Fitzgerald has one in PlameOut. Websites! They’re hot. Or bitching. No more bitch talk. Dems will leave that to Republicans.
SAD SAGA [Joe Gandelman/The Moderate Voice] This will be a fascinating process to watch because if Miers bites the nomination dust and GWB goes for another selection that excites and unites the GOP's base, that likely will mean more of a "red meat" conservative that could spark a Democratic filibuster, the nuclear option, etc...What will the impact be on Bush's overall approval rating? And — the biggest question — will the next candidate also be a "stealth" candidate or someone who will proudly state his/her positions?
THE HERETIK KNOWS nobody is looking forward to the coming explosions. Where will Miers watch the show from? Will she help screen her successor? Does she go back to her old job? DID SOMEBODY SAY WEBSITES? [Wizbang] The Wall Street Journal's John Fund, who has been knocking the stuffing out of the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination, has started Americans for Better Justice - a political non-profit organization made up of grassroots conservatives from across the country who support President George W. Bush, but disagree with the nomination of Harriet Miers.
A coalition of conservative groups including the Center for a Just Society, Fidelis, Eagle Forum, and ConservativeHQ launched WithdrawMiers.org, a multi-pronged campaign to urge the withdrawal of Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court.
THE HERETIK SEES with websites at our fingertips, at a click of a mouse, we may now see the elephant and the donkey battle in a nuclear sunlight.
MESSAGE TO PRODUCERS OF THE HARRIET MIERS SHOW: “Good enough” ain’t good enough. In a sure sign that Harriet Miers is tanking Senator John Cornyn channeled a character of rabid righty Al Franken. [story]
"Harriet Miers is more than able to hold her own," [Senator John] Cornyn said. " ... She's probably never been tested like this before. But few people have, and I believe that she is tough enough, she'll be prepared enough and she is good enough that she'll be confirmed." [via The Moderate Voice]
AS FRANKEN’S CHARACTER Stuart Smalley would say, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough . . . and gosh darn it, people like me.” But in the case of Miers, apparently not enough of The Right People do. Miers show cancelled after pilot bombs.
IT’S NOT JUST A CASE OF MIERS who um made mistakes on a questionnaire. Miers will get to take her do over on that. Larger questions remain for the clearly mistaken Bush who may not withstand the test of time. Lefty loonie Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post today:
The president's mistake was thinking he could sneak a reliable conservative past the liberal litmus tests (on abortion, above all) by nominating a candidate at once exceptionally obscure and exceptionally well known to him.
A CLASSIC MISTAKE? A study of the classics reveals the philosophy of solipsism which holds that the only thing that can be known is the self, a philosophy that applies to a narcissist like Bush. Bush who likes war analogies may not now appreciate how the view on Miers is Bush against the world and how badly he is losing.
RECOMMENDED READING CALL THE UNDERTAKER? [Joe Gandelsman] Is Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination politically dead on arrival yet? No one assigning it to the morgue of political conventional wisdom...not just yet.
A RIVER OF BAD NEWS [Captain Ed] This morning's news has administration aides choking on their morning coffee regarding the Harriet Miers nomination. While the Wall Street Journal comes out in opposition to her confirmation and urges withdrawal, the New York Sun reports that a senior Republican Senator has already passed that same message to the White House, which angrily dismissed the feedback. Meanwhile, John Fund reports that Miers' work at the Texas Lottery Commission will bring up several uncomfortable details about a sweetheart golden parachute for Ben Barnes after his firm lost a TLC contract under questionable circumstances -- and new reports have come out showing that George Bush paid a hell of a lot of money for Miers' services at about that same time.
THE HERETIK RETURNS to ask what was Bush thinking? Or is it Andy who misplayed this Card?
WONDER HOW SHE WILL DO ON THE ORALS? Harriet Miers didn't do so well on the written part of her test [story]
Barely concealing their irritation during a 35-minute news conference
at the Capitol, Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and ranking Democrat
Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) called the lobbying on Miers's behalf "chaotic,"
and said the answers she provided Monday to a lengthy questionnaire
were inadequate. "The comments I have heard range from incomplete to
insulting," Leahy said.
NO WORD on whether Miers will have to stay after school for detention. Nor of course on how she would rule on detention as a government policy. But the suspense is killing me.
Miers quickly replied, writing that she would comply with the new
request. She also wrote that "as a result of an administrative
oversight," her Texas law license was suspended for 26 days in 1989
because of unpaid dues. On Monday, Miers disclosed that her D.C. law
license was briefly suspended last year because of unpaid annual dues.
DOUBLE SUSPENDED? Somebody should get Time magazine's Matt "Double Secret" Cooper to get to the bottom of this "administrative oversight." When a woman who has been admitted to the bar and would have oversight of our nation's laws has an "administrative oversight," she has a problem with admitting the truth. If she were married with children, surely someone could find her a nanny for her to have another administrative problem on taxes so she could withdraw. The Heretik is lost in suspense again. Who missed Miers's suspensions in the vetting process?
HOW BAD IS IT? [Blogenlust] Something is seriously amiss with the White House, and it's both
satisfying and, I'll admit, a little frightening to see the wheels
coming off this quickly and dramatically.
CAN MIERS TAKE A MAKE UP TEST? [Joe Gandelsman/ The Moderate Voice] At this point, no one is seriously predicting that the nomination of
Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is dead...or even on life
support...but let's just say the patient isn't in A+ health.
THE HERETIK THINKS the patient will suffer more complications.
THE RIGHT CONTINUES to feel wronged by Harriet Miers [story] What more is left for Bush to do with the woman not quite right enough for the job? And what can Democrats do but laugh until they realize something more is needed?
With a single stroke--the
nomination of Harriet Miers--the president has damaged the prospects
for reform of a left-leaning and imperialistic Supreme Court, taken the
heart out of a rising generation of constitutional scholars, and
widened the fissures within the conservative movement. That's not a bad
day's work--for liberals.
There is, to say the least, a
heavy presumption that Ms. Miers, though undoubtedly possessed of many
sterling qualities, is not qualified to be on the Supreme Court. It is
not just that she has no known experience with constitutional law and
no known opinions on judicial philosophy. It is worse than that. As
president of the Texas Bar Association, she wrote columns for the
association's journal. David Brooks of the New York Times examined
those columns. He reports, with supporting examples, that the quality
of her thought and writing demonstrates absolutely no "ability to write
clearly and argue incisively."
A RIGHT MAN WRONGED wrote that. Robert Bork, a right good man, with a bad excuse of a beard that left out the mustache, writes from the center of the controversy from that lefty rag that should be lit on fire: the Wall Street Journal. You would think The Right would march right down The Street and go to war for all the protest. Who thought so much prose could be so anti Bush's old crone Miers who must be the dear auntie of some nieces and nephews back home sitting around playing Texas Hold 'Em? Will Bush continue to up his ante in this losing game or will he drop her? A BIT MORE ON BUSH, BORK AND MIERS: Pointing to the writing of Bork as well as Bruce Bartlett is Professor Bainbridge: No one could seriously doubt the conservative credentials of either
Robert Bork or Bruce Bartlett. These days they are singing out of the
same hymnbook when it comes to George W Bush and the tune is not pretty.
GOING FURTHER in the more general complaint on Bush is Bartlett: I could go on, but the point is that George W. Bush has never
demonstrated any interest in shrinking the size of government. And on
many occasions, he has increased government significantly. Yet if there
is anything that defines conservatism in America, it is hostility to
government expansion. The idea of big government conservatism, a term
often used to describe Bush's philosophy, is a contradiction in terms. Conservative intellectuals have known this for a long time, but looked the other way for various reasons.
AS THE HERETIK has noted before, The Right is having a Margaret Hamilton Moment. Recall the scene where the Wicked Witch of the West comes to her right end: I'm melting, meltttttttting. Or is Bush melting? Or is The Right no longer bewitched by his blatherings and are we at that scene Bush's more liberal critics point to back in Oz: pay no attention to that man behind the curtain?
WHAT IS A DAMNED Dem to do but be more liberal in the Department of Laughter, one expansion of government Bush will never fund properly, just like so much of what he promises but never delivers?
MORE WHO ARE NOT ROLLING in the right side of the aisle. On wierdo beardo Bork says Captain Ed Morrisey: Bork, not known for rhetorical half-measures at any time, takes the
gloves off in this piece. His essay drips with derision and anger at
the way the Bush administration hung the Federalist Society out to dry
during the Roberts nomination, and as the group's co-chair, he offers a
rousing defense of its purity from partisan politics and its mainstream
legal thinking. I wrote at the time
that the White House made a mistake in its reaction to the "allegation"
of Roberts' supposed membership in the pro-originalist group, but Judge
Bork now believes that the slight was deliberate and intended to
marginalize judicial originalism in favor of outcome-based activism.
THE HERETIK NOTES if the opposition on the Right to Miers stays this active, the outcome for Republicans in 2006 may be less Republicans coming through the doors of Congress.
AND FROM THE LEFT some of The Reaction from Michael J.W. Stickings: The Straussians at Claremont tend to be natural law cultists who follow Harry Jaffa's obsession with the Declaration of Independence. Their understanding of the "political philosophy" that informed the Founders differs from the understanding held by the Straussians who taught me -- and the understanding I myself have developed. I would thus question Masugi's emphasis on "the 'original' ringing affirmation of equality and liberty" that was the Declaration, but his critique of Bork is, in my view, right on the mark.
HARRIET MIERS'S NOMINATION lies somewhere between heaven and hell for one reason. Miers has told the truth. Both versions of it. [story] Miers has her own conscience, but we are told a judge must decide by law. We are told we entrust justice to those who put law before conscience, but what we really do is trust the conscience of a justice.
IF THE LAW IS TO OUR LIKING we say rule by law and that conscience has no place. If the law to us is evil, we appeal to the power of conscience. So the soul of justice speaks or the machinery of law clanks on this earth, somewhere below heaven, in a land that feels the heat of hell.
The White House was quick to emphasize that Ms. Miers's personal
views should not be used to predict how she would rule on any case.
role of a judge is very different from the role of a candidate or a
political officeholder," said Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman.
Ms. Miers, Mr. McClellan said, "recognizes that personal views and
ideology and religion have no role to play when it comes to making
decisions on the bench."
HYPOCRISY ONLY walks where people would have it both ways. We ask for judges who come neutral to the case before them. The Heretik wholey favors those who are partial to justice. The Heretik strongly believes that those who declaim for laws protecting the unborn in reality do injustice to women already alive. No one commands abortion for all. The empty rhetoric in the fight over judges and their views masks the struggle for women who ask for justice to lead full lives.
SO IT IS THERE IN WRITING but unsigned [story] Harriet Miers is against Roe.
Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers pledged support in 1989 for a constitutional amendment banning abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, according to material given to the Senate on Tuesday.
As a candidate for the Dallas city council, Miers also signaled support for the overall agenda of Texans United for Life — agreeing she would support legislation restricting abortions if the Supreme Court ruled that states could ban abortions and would participate in "pro-life rallies and special events."
Miers made her views known in a candidate questionnaire the White House submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is expected to hold hearings on her Supreme Court nomination next month. The one-page questionnaire was filled out, but unsigned, although the Bush administration affirmed its authenticity.
HARRIET 4.0 WILL SOONbe released or Miers will be released from her duties as surrogate candidate. The religious right can be satisfied she is true to them. The Bush administration can use opposition to her candidacy now to rally the evangelical base. If other Republicans join Democrats and successfully oppose her, the White House can offer Luttig or another candidate more likely to capture the fervor of those so far fevered to understand what the White House has been doing. A question: why isn't the questionnaire signed? Is that just another sign of how half assed this nomination has been handled so far?
On that form [Miers's questionnaire], she also said she would oppose the use of public
funds for abortion and use her influence to keep "pro-abortion" people
off of city boards and commissions dealing with health issues. She
qualified her answer regarding boards and commissions by adding the
words, "to the extent Pro-Life views are relevant."
answer differentiates her appointment from that of Chief Justice John
G. Roberts Jr., who left no explicit document indicating his personal
views on abortion as opposed to the views of the Reagan administration
when he was representing it.
Jim Dyke, a White House spokesman, told the AP today that
Miers's views as a candidate did not necessarily reflect what she might
do as a Supreme Court justice.
"A candidate taking a
political position in the course of a campaign is different from the
role of a judge making a ruling in the judicial process," he said.
THE HERETIK NOTES the Bush White House reveals its own thinking in the Dyke statement. Bush is nothing but a person who takes political positions in the judicial process, but claims otherwise.
SHOULD WE BE SURPRISED BY THE OBVIOUS? [Talk Left] Will this appease the radical right, engender opposition from the Left,
or both? My view: Anyone Bush nominates is going to be pro-life. He won
the election, he gets to pick, within reason. There is zero chance he
will pick someone who is pro-choice. We still don't know that Miers
will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. I'm not willing to make abortion the
sole litmus test. There are a lot of other important issues the Supreme
Court rules on. I want to know more, and I think we will when her
THE HERETIK RETURNS to the question about judges. We tell ourselves we want impartial judges, but then we want our nominated judges to tell us their opinions before they can judge at a higher level. Who was it who said judging is just politics. Is it best to admit it and move beyon the hypocrisy?
HARRIET MIERS COOLS talk on Roe [story] Miers faces a tough task convinincing Senators face to face.
Trying to woo senators who will determine whether she is confirmed for
the court, Miers aided the White House as it scrambled yesterday to
quell controversy over a published report that two Texas judges said
she opposes the 1973 decision that affirmed the right to an abortion in
all 50 states. "She said, 'No one knows how I would rule on Roe v. Wade ,' " Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters after their private meeting.
NO ONE KNOWS? While Miers may indicate no one knows what she knows, The Heretik hopes she knows what she knows. Here we are asked to believe judges don't review other judges opinions and that they magically do not have opinions on important cases until they are argued before them. The Heretik doesn't know how judges do that. Judges may require a certain distance.
But as Miers sought to distance herself from the judges'
assertions, her day on Capitol Hill ended in confusion over how far she
went in telling senators that she believes there is a constitutional
right to privacy -- the right that is the legal premise of Roe .
Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) emerged from a
100-minute meeting with the nominee and said that she stated she
believes that a right to privacy exists. Initially, Specter told
reporters that Miers had said "she backs Griswold ," referring to a 1965 case that dealt with access to contraceptives on the basis of privacy considerations.
LANGUAGE, LIKE LAW is subject to intrepretation. But from what Specter said, Miers gave an opinion on Griswold, like Roe a previous settled case, the sort of opinion successful nominees avoid.
last night, a spokesman for Specter issued a statement saying that
Miers had called him after his public comments "to say that he
misunderstood her and that she had not taken a position on Griswold or the privacy issue."
NOW THAT'S CLEAR isn't it? George Bush has said Harriet Miers will not change in twenty years. If you believe Specter's initial version of events, Miers change her mind in less than a day. What is going on here?
MORE ON HARRIET 2.0 [Ed Morrisey/Captain's Quarters] According to Charles Schumer, Miers would not talk about specific cases like and (in his opinion) did not seem to know much about Supreme Court case law, in a conversation he called "unproductive" . . . the administration staff still shows signs that they simply are not up
to effectively promoting this candidate, as Dana Milbank rather gleefully points out in today's Washington Post . . .Is this supposed to be an improvement over the past two weeks?
Yet she will not be pure enough for many conservatives, as it now
appears that there will be an organized campaign against her from the
right, led by former Bush speechwriter David Frum, in an effort to get her to withdraw. And the Washington Times reports that conservative senators and representatives have been getting flamed by the base on Miers.
THE HERETIK FEELS the more heat, the less light we will see on Miers. Yesterday was badly misplayed. The clouding of what Miers said to Specter who then rescinded his recollection is a clear point of ice stabbing true about the problems of this nomination. Miers is all things to some audiences in one instant and nothing to all in the next. What she believes (or why she is qualified) is voiced more clearly by others than it has been articulated by Miers herself so far.