The withdrawal of Harriet Miers nomination today was the ultimate boondoggle - timed to distract us from tomorrow's indictment news.
It's not going to work on TalkLeft. I'm declaring a blackout on Harriet Miers posts until after the news of the Indictments subsides a little - at least until Saturday. That is the real news. I'm not going to feed into the Administration's spin plan.
For those of you who want to talk about Miers, please use the comments to the three posts from earlier today.
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has issued this statement (received by e-mail) on Harriet Miers' withdrawal as Supreme Court nominee. I agree with him.
“The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination. Apparently, Ms. Miers did not satisfy those who want to pack the Supreme Court with rigid ideologues.
“I had recommended that the President consider nominating Ms. Miers because I was impressed with her record of achievement as the managing partner of a major Texas law firm and the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association. In those roles she was a strong supporter of law firm diversity policies and a leader in promoting legal services for the poor. But these credentials are not good enough for the right wing: they want a nominee with a proven record of supporting their skewed goals.
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by Last Night in Little Rock
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The right wing has one more reason to worry that Harriet Miers might not support their extreme views if her Supreme Court nomination is confirmed.
Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers said in a speech more than a decade ago that “self-determination” should guide decisions about abortion and school prayer and that in cases where scientific facts are disputed and religious beliefs vary, “government should not act.”
Miers’ professed belief that individuals should make their own decisions about contentious social issues, and her apparent belief that science should not give way to a governmentally-advanced religious agenda, prompted Mathew Staver, president and general counsel for the Liberty Counsel, to make the bizarre charge that Miers would be a judicial activist. While most might think that a judicial activist would actively impose his or her own will on others rather than letting them decide for themselves, any judge who lets individuals make their own choices about whether to pray or to have an abortion is apparently an “activist” in Staver’s world.
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Lexis also searched for cases involving others named as potential nominees. According to the LexisNexis database, Miers has been involved 16 cases. The others, it notes, have far more experience. Of course, most of those are judges who write opinions for a living.
What's key here is a reminder of who might be appointed if Ms. Miers' nomination is defeated.
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Harriet Miers on Priscilla Owens:
Knowing and watching her over the course of the years, knowing the incredible person that she is, and knowing what a highly capable and qualified jurist that she is, what's happened to her in the judicial process is surprising and disappointing. You would never expect that someone who is as well thought of in our state, across party lines, could experience what she's had to experience. It's just personally very, very disappointing that she has been treated the way she's been treated.
In the same April 2005 interview, Miers on Bush:
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Via Taegan Goddard of Political Wire: President Bush gave Republican Senators their "way out" of the Miers nomination today by announcing he would refuse to turn over documents requested by Senate Judicaiary Committee members.
This afternoon, CNN notes President Bush refused the Senate request, saying "It's a red line I'm not willing to cross." Bush insisted that complying with such requests "would make it impossible for me and other presidents to be able to make sound decisions."
Now, our sources say, the White House can withdraw the nomination over principle and not out of political necessity. They may still wait to see if the circumstances change in the coming days, but they've given themselves a way to at least partially save face.
Law Prof Jack Balkin analyzes the pros and cons of Miers' nomination from the Democrats' view point and comes up opposed, unless Miers demonstrates her abilities at her hearings.
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Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has submitted her questionnaire.
In 1989, she pledged support for the Human Life Amendment.
The abortion issue hangs over Miers' nomination much as it did over the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts earlier this year. The situations are different, however — Roberts replaced the late William Rehnquist, who voted to overturn the 1973 abortion ruling. Miers would succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has voted to uphold it.
"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." said Jim Dyke, a White House spokesman.
In interviews with Senators, she has denied telling anyone how she would vote on Roe v. Wade.
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How effective have the railings of right-wing bloggers been against Harriet Miers? According to Business Week, hardly at all.
Big-name Right-wing bloggers and pundits are livid about Bush's latest Supreme Court pick. So why do polls find only 9% of the GOP faithful oppose her?
The White House is changing strategies over Miers' nomination and finally putting a support team in place. Miers' religion is off the table in the new playbook:
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Here are two theories about Bush's judicial nomination plans I'm told were floating around at high levels in Washington legal circles just before her nomination, both of which proved to be incorrect:
- Bush intended to put Alberto Gonzales on the Supreme Court instead of Roberts, and to appoint Harriet Miers Attorney General. The radical right's opposition to Gonzales' felled that plan.
- When Roberts was nominated for the Supreme Court, creating a vacancy on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, it was Bush's intention to nominate Harriet to fill that seat.
In other words, either way, Bush had planned to elevate Harriet Miers. A question: Did Bush get erroneous advice that the right would be pleased with Miers due to her evangelical beliefs while the left would regard her as a consensus nominee? Which advisor would have told him that? Has Rove lost his touch or was he out of the loop until the decision was made?
In either event, I still say Harriet Miers will be confirmed and I think she will be good on many criminal justice issues.
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I am at the 3 day annual meeting of the Lexis-Nexis - Martindale Hubbell Legal Advisory board. This is the board that Harriet Miers was on until 1999 or 2000, when she went to work full-time for Bush, who was then running for President.
There are four ex-ABA presidents on the board (three of whom are here), and one former U.S. Attorney General. Many have taught at law schools. One is a law school dean. No one on this board who worked with Harriet, including me, thinks she will quit or that Bush will withraw her nomination. About the latter, think about it: When Bush wants someone on the bench whom Congress doesn't want, what does he do? He brings them round again - like Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. Or he does a recess appointment. In other words, he is stubborn as hell. He is not going to withdraw this nomination - and Harriet is tough. She is not going to quit.
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Remember when the right wing insisted that any presidential nominee to the Supreme Court was entitled to “an up or down vote”? Remember when conservatives whined that it’s the president’s job to select judicial nominees, and labeled opponents of the nominee “obstructionists”? Those who have an intact memory should be amused at the right wing flip flop regarding presidential power and Bush's choice of Harriet Miers.
A growing number of Republican activists say Bush blundered in naming Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, failing to anticipate the firestorm it would ignite among conservative backers and leading opinion makers who question her qualifications. Bush now may be forced to choose between an embarrassing withdrawal of the nomination or accepting a fissure among conservatives that could jeopardize the party's hold on power.
“Right now the base is completely fractured and people are very concerned about the impact on the 2006 elections,” said Manuel Miranda, who heads a coalition of 150 conservative and libertarian groups and opposes Miers. “The troubling thing is that the Supreme Court was the gold ring and the president's thinking appears indiscernible, unless you're willing to take it as a matter of faith.”
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Right wing, pro-life blogger Paul Deignan at Info Theory writes that Harriet Miers can be an evangelical and pro-choice.
Please also note that it is possible to be a good evangelical and pro-choice at the same time. One rationale is that people have free will and that the child is in the hands of God anyway. Another is that this serves a purpose on earth by allowing nonbelievers to eradicate themselves over generations, i.e. that is may be part of God's plan. There are still many other rationalizations that explain why 34% of good evangelicals are pro-choice.
I hope she is one of those 34%, but even if she is not, I believe she will keep her personal religion and her judging separate.
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According to Drudge, the right is in a snit over Harriet Miers refusal to join a conservative group like the Federalist Society. Good for her. Stephen Henderson of Knights-Ridder reported on October 7:
[Miers] also said during her sworn testimony that she would not join an organization like the Federalist Society, a group of conservative intellectuals that is a leading proponent of a strict _ and some say narrow _ interpretation of the Constitution. "I just feel like it's better not to be involved in organizations that seem to color your view one way or the other for people who are examining you," she said.
The article also reports she's progressive on racial issues:
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Focus on the Family James Dobson aired a broadcast Wednesday disclosing what Karl Rove told him about Harriet Miers the weekend before she was nominated. I agree with Markos of Daily Kos, it sounds like spin.
But we also talked about something else, and I think this is the first time this has been disclosed. Some of the other candidates who had been on that short list, and that many conservatives are now upset about were highly qualified individuals that had been passed over. Well, what Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter, that they didn't want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it.
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