Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers withdraws: Relief or disappointment?

When early-90's speeches were dug up earlier this week in which Harriet Miers made some troublesome comments, I began to panic.

So the fact that she withdrew today is somewhat a relief. Indeed, Cal Thomas explains in this column (before the withdrawal) why it suddenly seems unlikely that she's a staunch originalist. Dr. James Dobson was forced to change his mind about her. And last week Charles Krauthammer explained an "exit strategy" for getting out of the nomination and starting over (the fact that with Miers's limited record, senators need to review certain White House documents, but it would be wrong for the White House to release them - thus the nomination process cannot continue). And that's exactly what happened!

And though I'm relieved to be rid of an unknown and now hopeful for an outspoken originalist like Alito or Luttig, I mostly agree with Hugh Hewitt in this piece. Miers, of course, was the president's pick - not ours - and deserved her hearings and a vote. The assault from some conservatives went way overboard. And Hewitt thinks this unfortunate behavior could set a bad precedent. (Also, Sandra Day O'Connor will now remain on the court longer, allowing her to rule on some important issues.)

It's just sad to see this happen to someone who I think is a good person (plus to the president). But I think she made the right decision - and a selfless one - to withdraw. She ought to be praised, whether or not she would have been the judge we hoped she'd be.

Also, Thomas Sowell has blamed weak Republican senators for the necessity of nominating "stealth" candidates, rather than the president, and he has a point. It puts Bush in a tough position: Conservatives won't accept someone like Miers, but will Republican senators even have the backbone to confirm an outspoken originalist?

I don't know, but it's time to fight. And I pray President Bush will make the appropriate nomination.

Recent posts on the SCOTUS nomination issue here, here, here, and here.

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