No Guarantees on Miers's Confirmation
Note to Debaters: I was planning to use the upcoming week's Debate to look at the many ethics scandals currently sloshing around Washington ... until I realized that the Iraq constitution vote is on Saturday. With all the other big news, it kind of snuck up on me. So with the consent of my benevolent editor, we'll take on those scandals next week (I have a feeling they'll still be around) and debate the situation in Iraq starting later this afternoon.
But first, a little handicapping on the Harriet Miers nomination. Miers's confirmation is by no means guaranteed, and pre-hearing opinion seems pretty well split over what the outcome is likely to be.
According to a piece for the Washington Post by conservative lawyer (and Federalist Society member) John Yoo, she will be confirmed. However, he says that with the Miers nomination, the president "swung and missed."
Peggy Noonan is similarly unimpressed. "Barring a withdrawal of her nomination, it's going to come down to Harriet Miers's ability to argue her own case before the Senate Judiciary Committee," Noonan writes in the Opinion Journal. "If the American people decide she seems like a good person -- sympathetic, wise, even-keeled, knowledgeable -- she'll be in; and if not, not."
SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein predicts Miers will not be confirmed.
Why such vast disagreement?
The biggest reason for this uncertainty is that the Republicans are deeply divided on the nomination. It is not just the evangelical wing of the party vs. everyone else. Baldilocks, for one, posting from "the cheap seats" of the Republican party, has come to the realization that for all the tirades about the "liberal elite," there are more than enough elites to go around in conservative circles, too. Here we see another rift in the movement -- the ivory tower conservatives vs. the "cheap seats" conservatives -- on top of the long-simmering tensions between the evangelical right and the conservative intelligentsia. Though the rumblings have been recognized for a while, the Miers nomination brought these tensions bubbling to the surface.
It seems there are some on the right who are deluding themselves into believing this division isn't occurring. Matt Goldseth in the Visions of the Annointed [sic] blog derides "Democratic complaints regarding her lack of qualifications." Yet the Democrats, on the relatively rare occasion that we've heard from them over the last week and a half, have generally said they'll reserve judgment and decide whether Miers is acceptable based on her performance at the confirmation hearings. It's the big-name conservatives who are raising the ruckus. They are the ones most bombastically railing against this nomination, saying Miers lacks the necessary qualifications to be on the court.
Blaming Democrats for things is great fun, sure, but as has often been the case for the past few years, they're barely on the radar screen on this one. (Debaters: I challenge you to convince me that the Dems "cowed Bush into" picking a "weak" nominee as is discussed in the Confirm Them blog.) In the National Review, Mark R. Levin somewhat more explicably blames the Miers nomination on John McCain and the other six Republicans who joined the Gang of 14 to prevent a showdown over appellate nominees earlier this year. The real concern is this chasm in the party, and the growing gulf between the President and his once robust base.
Case in point: Sunday's Meet the Press featured Pat Buchanan (about as far from a Democrat as you can get) arguing that the Miers nomination should be withdrawn; fellow conservative John Land argued in favor of the president's choice. Buchanan and the Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein, who was on separately later in the program have both fretted that this nomination sends the message to law students that they'll only have a chance at the Supreme Court if they leave no paper trail.
Top conservative opinion writers George Will, Charles Krauthammer and the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol have lined up against Miers. (Kristol argues that conservatives who can't in good conscience support Miers would do the party a favor by voting no.) Even Ann "Facts Are for Wimps" Coulter is maligning the president over this one.
Still not enough evidence that this bloody battle is, at least for the moment, being waged almost entirely on the rightward side of the battlefield? Try this: The bloggers at RedState.org's Confirm Them blog aren't so sure this one should be confirmed. Seriously! See here (expressing feeling of betrayal), here (sitting on the fence) and here (calling for withdrawal of the nomination), just for starters.
Think Miers will be confirmed? If you were on the Senate Judiciary Committee, what would you ask her? Leave a comment and let us know. We'll return to the Miers nomination when the Senate hearings begin. Check back around 4 p.m. today for the kick off of the Debate on the Iraq constitution!
Got a tip for an Iraq-related op-ed or blog post you think I should highlight in the upcoming Debate? E-mail me at email@example.com.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: frieda406 | October 12, 2005 11:33 AM
Posted by: frieda406 | October 12, 2005 11:34 AM
Posted by: Derek | October 12, 2005 11:57 AM
Posted by: Ralph666 | October 12, 2005 01:01 PM
Posted by: Sonny | October 12, 2005 01:30 PM
Posted by: naomi | October 12, 2005 01:38 PM
Posted by: Emily Messner | October 12, 2005 01:49 PM
Posted by: Dave S | October 12, 2005 02:23 PM
Posted by: Bob P. | October 12, 2005 02:27 PM
Posted by: Derek | October 12, 2005 02:52 PM
Posted by: Derek | October 12, 2005 02:56 PM
Posted by: james | October 12, 2005 03:40 PM
Posted by: Paul Mollica | October 12, 2005 04:01 PM
Posted by: worn out in Texas | October 12, 2005 04:09 PM
Posted by: barbara | October 12, 2005 04:19 PM
Posted by: Bryce | October 12, 2005 04:23 PM
Posted by: Jeff | October 12, 2005 04:25 PM
Posted by: Sonny | October 12, 2005 04:40 PM
Posted by: Jenny from AZ | October 13, 2005 12:29 PM
Posted by: Nate | October 13, 2005 01:07 PM
Posted by: Bryce | October 13, 2005 04:32 PM
Posted by: Derek | October 14, 2005 02:15 PM
Posted by: Matthew Goldseth | December 15, 2005 01:26 PM