More on Harriet Miers
Reasons to be optimistic.
Miers, as White House Counsel, has been overseeing Bush's nominations to the federal courts, all of which have been terrific. She also oversaw the Roberts nomination, and knows exactly what the White House was looking for in a Supreme Court justice. And Bush knows she knows. So that's something to hang on to. Nothing in George W. Bush's past actions suggests that he does not follow through on campaign promises. He campaigned heavily on judicial appointments and said his models were Scalia and Thomas. One aspect of this president's behavior that has driven his opponents crazy is that he actually does what he said he would do. Maybe, just maybe, when Bush saw that Harry Reid had said Miers would be acceptable, Bush saw an opportunity to get what he wanted and to outfox the Dems once again.
The Democrats' happiness.
Oddly enough, I think this is also grounds for optimism. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have been almost burbling with enthusiasm for Miers. I find this most interesting. They can't know anything more about her philosophy than the rest of the world does. I just wonder if the Dems don't realize that the lefty interest groups to whom the party must answer (NARAL, PFTAW) were making them look like idiots, and they are relieved that there is nothing about Miers that makes her obviously objectionable. Maybe the Dems realize that if Bush had nominated a Luttig, in order to keep NARAL money flowing they would have been obliged to wage a war of unprecedented nastiness and vitriol, which would have left them looking like, well, the south end of a horse headed north.
This makes sense to me. It also makes me a little sad that the president did not provoke such a war. The country could have used it.
Tom Oliphant, the reliably partisan Democrat columnist for the Boston Globe whose daughter worked for John Kerry, is gleeful at the discord and dismay the Miers nomination has greated among the GOP. So is E.J. Dionne, one of the sillier liberal columnists. It will be interesting to see who ends up being gleeful if Justice Miers starts voting consistently with Scalia and Thomas.
Appointing a close associate.
Call me old-fashioned but as a general rule, I do not think a president or even a governor should appoint close associates to the highest court of the nation or state. No one liked it when Lyndon Johnson appointed Abe Fortas. Conservatives would have gone crazy if Bill Clinton had nominated Bruce Lindsey to the Supreme Court. I am not saying that Miers is a crony-- to qualify for that status the nominee has to be unqualified, and she is qualified. I just don't like this. Yes, Adams appointed John Marshall, but those were different times and Miers is no John Marshall. If you disagree with me, read what John Podhoretz says about this.
Miers the individual.
It still bothers me that she is 60 years old.
She also seems less than ideal from a personal standpoint, as a never-married woman with no cihldren. David Souter also never married and has no children. Forgive me for the sense of deja vu that creeps up on me. Also, I wonder if such a person really understands life fully enough to be on the highest court in the land. A seemingly mean-spirited question, but not meant that way. I think it's important to ask.
Time will tell.
We can't do anything now but watch all this unfold. I hope she is confirmed. I think for Miers to be rejected would be a disaster and might well result in another Anothony Kennedy. As much as I hate to be in a position of simply trusting the president, that's where we are. May it all work out well.
My blogfather Hugh Hewitt is optimistic, and critical (justifiably, I think) of conservatives who have resorted to bitter ridicule in response to the Miers nomination. (See Rich Lowry's piece, for example.) Hugh's thoughtful optimism gives me hope too.
In short, there's no reason to be "over the moon," as we were when Roberts was nominated. But there's not enough reason to be depressed yet-- just uncertain. Misgivings do not constitute disloyalty; but in this case, when misgivings cross the line to brick-throwing, no one benefits but the left.
UPDATE II: Patrick Ruffini is rounding up more optimistic conservatives into "The Coalition of The Chillin', SCOTUS Division." His site is well worth a visit.