Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Inside the Miers nomination process

Everyone who says the nomination reflects fecklessness and weakness on the part of the president is completely correct, as was everyone who insisted the Republicans CRUSH the Democratic filibuster of judicial appointments. According to this Chicago Trib report, The Monk is 2-for-2:

The failure of the Republican leadership in the Senate and the White House to swiftly end the Democratic-led filibusters came back to haunt conservatives last week, because it was one of a confluence of factors that led to the surprisingly contentious nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Partly because of the Democrats' success in filibustering appellate court nominees, Bush had a shorter list of candidates to examine for the Supreme Court. Highly qualified prospects were unavailable, deemed too inflammatory by Senate leaders or, as in Estrada's case, unwilling to re-enter the fray.

* * *
. . . the seeds for Miers' nomination were sown when that group of Senate Democrats, newly in the minority and chastened by almost unprecedented losses in the 2002 elections, decided to gamble and filibuster some of Bush's most prominent appeals court nominees.

* * *
Bush had emphasized to his aides, however, that he wanted to nominate a woman or minority. Federal appellate Judge Priscilla Owen had been under serious consideration and, an administration official said, was willing to endure another fight, after surviving a Democrat-led filibuster of her nomination to the New Orleans-based federal appeals court. She did not withdraw her name from consideration, the official said.

But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Senate Democrats had warned Bush that the nomination of the strongly conservative Owen would provoke an all-out fight and likely trigger a filibuster.

So with his approval rating dropping after the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Bush turned to Miers, his trusted adviser. Officials had floated the idea of nominating her with top outside legal advisers the week before, and they believed the Republican Party's conservative base would be content with her nomination.

Honked that one, didn't you?

One thing the article does not mention is the spectre of Specter -- that is, the need for the President to send a nominee to the committee that will also satisfy socially liberal and big-government loving Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican (in name only) who the Majority foolishly allowed to become the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. The Monk vehemently opposed Specter's ascension.

Notable conservative who is 0-for-2: Hugh Hewitt, the leader of the Bush Loyalists stumping for the Miers nomination and who also supported Specter as Judiciary Chairman.

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