Interesting; I know several people thought that Bush would pick someone very close to him–which makes sense given the pervasiveness of cronyism within the administration–and I suppose Bush thought Miers was more confirmable than Gonzales and wanted a woman to replace O’Connor, so why not the woman who took over his job? Tom Goldstein thinks she may have serious problems, since Senate conservatives have strong incentives not to support her, and her qualifications are weak. (Iocaste suggests that the “Confirm Them” blog may need a new name, and also notes that she’s never even argued before the Supreme Court.) The first thing I thought when I heard about Myers was the way Truman packed the court with his poker buddies after FDR put people like Black and Douglas and Frankfurter on it, and Lyle Denniston agrees:
Two of the most undistinguished members of the modern Supreme Court — Justices Harold Burton and Sherman Minton — got on the Court almost entirely because they were cronies of President Harry Truman; there were few other qualities of note. When the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up the nomination of Harriet Miers to be an Associate Justice, she will have the burden of proving that she is qualified to joint the Court and was not chosen on the basis of cronyism. That could pose a serious challenge.
One of the more interesting questions, at this early stage of the nomination process, is whether the American Bar Association will find Miers to be qualified for the Court. Although the ABA’s views are not highly regarded by the Bush Administration, a failure by the ABA to endorse her could be crucial, if the nomination gets into trouble on any other ground.
Miers suffers, perhaps greatly, by comparison to the President Bush’s other nominee, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and few observers would expect her to perform at anywhere near to his level before the Judiciary Committee. Only senators wholly committed to Bush’s choice, perhaps solely because he made it, are likely to have an easy time with the nomination if her performance is visibly lacking.
Orin Kerr, while kinder, calls her the “anti-Roberts.” As for what I think, it’s hard to know, since there’s little evidence of her judicial philosophy, even less than with Roberts. Obviously, that’s better than someone like Edith Jones or Priscilla Owen, who we know is a neoconfederate reactionary. What Democrats should do will depend on what we find out. NARAL is playing wait and see, which makes sense.
…ReddHedd has a good rant.