Thursday, October 27, 2005
- Defending executive privelage (the explicitly stated reason in Miers' letter to Bush)
- Conservative muscle
- Shady dealings with the Texas Lottery Commission
I think that the most likely reason is #2 -- that faced with enough opposition within the Republican party, the honorable thing was to withdraw. I personally don't discount #3 -- when Miers was co-chair of this commission some actions were taken that looked slightly less than ethical (although may have been fine -- we'll never know).
As for the stated reason? It sure sounds nice; nicer than either of the other 2 explanations, but it doesn't really reflect well on Bush either. It kind of means "whoops, I didn't realize that I had to defend my picks."
So what now?
As a fan of the Supreme Court, I think that this is good. What the court needs is competent judges who have the ability and experience to understand the complex role that the Supreme Court plays. Judges without that competency will inadvertently shift the balance of power among the 3 branches and the results could be unforeseeable and generally not good. From what we know of Roberts, he certainly appears to be a competent judge. To be amoral for a second, I suspect that there are plenty of folks on the far right and left who have this level of competency. I would rather see any of them on the bench than an incompetent judge who shares all of my sympathies. I would of course prefer a judge who shares my sympathies, but that is a matter of secondary importance.
Given that predilection, I am pleased that Miers has withdrawn her nomination. Given the amount of withering criticism of her lack of experience, I can only guess that the next nominee will be a (somewhat) seasoned judge. If I had to guess, I would expect one of the conservative judges who's names have been listed in the press so often (Luttig, Brown, etc.).
I would think that the Right will be pleased. What will follow will surely be a horrific battle involving filibusters, the threat of the nuclear option and the predictable fall-out. In the end, the Right has both the presidency and the majority in the senate and I cannot imagine but that they will succeed.
For the Left, all hope is not lost. In the first place, there is no guarantee that the next nominee will be a Luttig. The nomination of Miers may simply have been Bush attempting to do something nice for a friend, but I think that it is more likely an indication that Bush feels unable to deliver a Luttig. I am not enough of a political commentator to guess why this might be, but it is certainly possible that Bush will attempt to replicate his success with Roberts (an unknown quantity) or do something totally unpredictable (His wife? Sammy Sosa? The possibilities are limitless). In the second place, even if Bush does nominate Luttig, there are many opportunities. The one I think about most is that the Nuclear Option will have far reaching affects. Even if it never comes to fruition, the ensuing confrontation could cause widespread random resentment among voters, creating a lot of turnover at the federal and local level. I wouldn't guess that this would help the Democrats pick up seats in congress, but the existance of chaos certainly creates the potential for that kind of change.
Regardless of what follows, the next couple of months will be riveting for political junkies such as your humble correspondent.
As always, thanks for reading.