27 October 2005

Back to Square One

So, Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination. Although it was purportedly at her request, President Bush's comments indicate otherwise:

I understand and share her concern, however, about the current state of the Supreme Court confirmation process. It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House - disclosures that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid counsel. Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the Constitutional separation of powers — and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.

I am grateful for Harriet Miers' friendship and devotion to our country. And I am honored that she will continue to serve our Nation as White House Counsel.

(Thanks to Marty Lederman at SCOTUSblog for quoting this in an easy-to-access form.)

Well, so far, I've been right on my assessment of the Miers nomination. My snap analysis was that:

  1. Although this was put forth as a serious nomination, there wouldn't be much support for it from the White House. (check)
  2. Ms Miers would have a great deal of difficulty even getting out of committee due to her lack of a paper trail and current job. (check)
  3. Eventually, Ms Miers' nomination would be withdrawn. (check)
  4. Withdrawing the nomination would not affect her job as White House Counsel. (check)

Which leaves only a few more items—which seem pretty assured:

  1. The White House, and/or its apologists and apparatchiks, will criticize everyone for being too mean to the nice lady in a confirmation process that is broken beyond repair. (half a check, based on the statement quoted above)
  2. The next nominee is going to be a lot more ideologically "pure" to whatever ideology the President believes is confirmable. (can't judge yet)
  3. Some time after a confirmation, either memos or memoirs from White House staff will disclose that the confirmed nominee was chosen to conform to "We tried to compromise, you wouldn't, so you got this because we're vindictive assholes." (can't judge yet)

all of which is rather depressing from a President whose "mandate" comes from less than one-third of the electorate by the most-generous-possible count. Remember, a substantial proportion of those registered to vote didn't… and that's leaving off those eligible, but not registered, or whose votes were not counted at all.