Miers with an “i." Whee. . .

Among the many developments today was that Bush named Harriet Miers as his second nominee to the Supreme Court. It's too bad, though, that while his nominee has provoked controversy, the nomination process will be a snooze.

I don’t see how there was a way around controversy on this one. Every politician in America has been itching for a fight, so it was just a matter of why he/she should be outraged. This time, it’s Bush’s faithful base that seems to be upset with the pick. They may very well have good cause. Miers’s primary qualification seems to be that she’s a Bush loyalist. While historians and scholars have rightly pointed out that plenty of other qualified Supreme Court Justices were confirmed without an previous experience on the bench, it still seems clear that, especially when compared to John Roberts, Miers is not heavyweight. Whether or not people are angry, Miers will sail through, and the hearings will be boring.

Bluntly, I can’t find anybody, other than President Bush himself, who has declared that Miers is the most qualified candidate for the job. Perhaps technical qualifications shouldn’t be our only measurement – surely the feasibility of confirmation plays a role, too. John Roberts got high marks on both fronts. Miers’s record seems slim enough (and probably well vetted, too), that there won’t be much fodder for liberal attacks. But people of all persuasions have a right to be disappointed. Bush proved to his “moral values” voters that principles of personal loyalty trump campaign promises and/or religious principles (liberals should be thankful for that). Liberals are disappointed that they got all worked up for a cultural fight just to find that they’re back to trying to play rope-a-dope with an unknown nominee.

Overall, this nomination just doesn’t feel historic. Yep, she’s a woman. But Miers’s professional career, while successful, has almost always involved representing private clients. What are her views? How has her legal thought developed? Who will she represent when on the bench? Americans at large? Traditional values? President Bush’s views? Nobody knows, but I’m guessing that it’s number three. Miers will be confirmed, and intellectuals will have to go back to the morbid business of waiting for another legal mind to kick the bucket, hoping that the next nominee will have some bite.


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