Monday, October 03, 2005

Bush Nominates Harriet Miers For Supreme Court

President Bush this morning nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor as Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Miers, 60, has been a Bush insider since his days as Texas governor and has no experience, at any level, as a judge.

How much of a fight will there be over Miers? I don't think anyone knows at the moment. Certainly, her total lack of experience as a judge requires legitimate scrutiny and one has to question whether simply being a close associate of the president is a good enough qualification to serve on the highest court in the land. Apparently, Bush's experience with blatant cronyism in the case of FEMA's Michael Brown hasn't taught him anything.

In addition, that lack of experience means that her judicial philosophy is somewhat of a mystery, so I fully expect that, even absent severe partisan rancor, there will be significant debate over questions Democrats will want her to answer but for which she will want to remain silent. And, because she will have a swing vote on a wide range of issues, Senate Democrats must not accept that silence.

That said, it is reported that she is one of the people that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid urged Bush to appoint. If that's true and she truly is a moderate in the O'Connor mode, this may go as easy for the White House as did Judge Roberts' confirmation.

However, at the end of the day, I still try to keep in mind that it was O'Connor who voted to give the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000. That will always taint any view of O'Connor as a wise moderate, so I don't believe being cast in her image should make Miers a lock for confirmation.

Stay tuned....