Harriet Miers and Judicial Politics; Will the Right Make Bush Pay a Price?

Article excerpt

Byline: Tod Lindberg, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

I was busy into the early afternoon following President Bush's announcement of his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court last Monday. So, it wasn't until about 2:30 p.m. that I clicked into the blogosphere to see what the initial impressions of the nominee were on the right side of the political spectrum.

Only then did I discover that I was much, much too late for initial impressions. In the few hours I'd been off-line, the reaction to the Miers nomination had crystallized, hardened and petrified. Traces of ambivalence or provisional judgment were all but gone. The few people trying to offer a neutral, let alone a positive view, were dying the death of a thousand links. Such division over the nomination as still remained seemed to be over whether it could best be classified a fiasco, a disaster or a cataclysm.

OK. My initial impression of Miss Miers was "Who? Oh, yeah." Beyond that, I, like almost everybody else, had only her official biography and follow-up press reports (not necessarily reliable) to go on.

Now, with respect to the biography, there are a few points that seem to be underappreciated in the current debate (if that's what you'd call it). First of all, the ascent to co-managing partner of a 400-lawyer firm, not neglecting that swaggering Texas machismo "here's a pat on the head for the little lady" effect, is a long climb up a slippery pole. Moreover, it requires no specialist knowledge of the ins and outs of the Texas legal scene to comprehend that the presidency of the Texas Bar Association is a much sought-after prize. When people who have already ascended to the heights of a profession decide to compete as well for pure prestige, and then win, the result is hardly negligible. And one hears from lawyers that a specialty in commercial litigation is not a practical career path for the addle-witted. So it would surprise me not in the least if Harriet Miers is a pretty formidable hombre.

That said, she is no John Roberts, someone well known and loved by everybody on his side of the partisan divide, some on the other and most in between. If you have praised John Roberts for his many charms, you will need to find other charms if you wish to praise Miss Miers. What was striking last week was the swift and certain verdict from conservatives that no competing set of charms was possible in the case of Miss Miers.

The conservative community wanted a stellar nominee and wanted Mr. …