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Nominee Harriet Miers withdraws

The blawgosphere is roiling over White House counsel Harriet Miers' letter to President Bush, asking that he withdraw her name as a nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. (Hat-tip:  memeorandum.)

In his public statement on Miers' withdrawal, Bush indicated that the last straw in the immediate, comprehensive debate over the qualifications of this nominee, was the invasion of the presidential file cabinet:

"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."

Few in the blawgosphere sound surprised -- and right-of-center bloggers are, in their own words, relieved. "So Harriet Miers has withdrawn her candidacy under what seems to be the Krauthammer cover -- a move that President Bush was telegraphing pretty strongly over the last few days by repeatedly mentioning that obtaining White House documents was an important 'red line' he absolutely would not cross," writes Orin Kerr on The Volokh Conspiracy. Professor Bainbridge, on the same page with Kerr on this point, congratulates Krauthammer and enthuses, "let's hope Bush now nominates someone the entire base can support. Mike McConnell comes to mind." (See Kerr's write-up on 10th Circuit Judge McConnell, and check out blogfather Eugene Volokh's enthusiastic rejoinder.)

Norm Pattis continues to believe that Miers was set up to fail in a strategic Supreme Court staffing plan to pave the way for such a second nominee (make that second second nominee). "There was never really any question in my mind that she was offered up as road kill, and I predicted on this site the day she was nominated that she would never be confirmed. See, Harriet Who? Oct. 3, 2005. So, satisfied as I am at having just this once gotten something right, I remain concerned about the meaning of these events," Pattis muses. " Next move by the White House? Appointment of a pedigreed conservative, and then fingerpointing at opponents who are trying to obstruct yet another nominee. Remember: You heard it here first."

Lauren Gelman agrees. "I remember listening to Senator Schumer's reaction to her nomination on NPR. He said 'It could have been worse.' I’m betting now, it will be," she writes. Indeed, professor Spencer Overton of Blackprof wonders whether the left bears responsibility for Miers' departure from the field, writing, "As I wrote here, I believe that Miers would have developed a judicial philosophy that would be better for people of color than the approach of any other possible Bush nominee ("Will Harriet Miers Care About Black People?").  Miers also supported race-conscious measures like the Voting Rights Act.  This withdrawal could be very bad news for people of color.  Did moderates and progressives fail by not actively defending Miers against critics on the extreme right?"

Miers may be gone, but the satire that has surrounded her nomination from the beginning continues. Culture commentator and law prof Althouse wraps it up with When pink turns to black.

For additional reading I recommend:

Posted by Laurel Newby on October 27, 2005 at 01:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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