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October 27, 2005
Send Miers To The Floor, If She Dares

Hugh Hewitt has brought out another argument for supporting Harriet Miers this morning -- that conservative calls for Miers' withdrawal will undercut efforts to bring later nominees to a full floor vote:

Now, however, a big slice of conservative punditry has decioded that the long march back isn't worth the risk that Harriet Miers isn't who the president and her close associates say she is. On the basis of a very thin set of papers --some of them distorted, and all of them cherry-picked-- and with an absolute refusal to entertain any of the many arguments and testimonies on her behalf, this caucus has seized on the very tactics most conservatives have long denounced in order to do what?

To deny Harriet Miers a hearing and an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

That's absurd. No one recommends "denying" her a floor vote. In my post, I specifically say she should get one, if that's what the President wants. I suspect that Bernard Kerik would have gotten a full up-or-down vote in the Senate, had his nomination not been wisely withdrawn by the White House. We're saying that we urge Bush to pull her nomination before she gets a humiliating defeat in the Judiciary Commitee and the full Senate, and that we think she's a bad selection for the Supreme Court in the first place.

Since when did the hearings become the be-all, end-all forum for qualifying for the Court anyway? Candidates used to have impressive track records of judicial or legal work that made their fitness and desirability plain, even those who had little or no judicial experience. Only when a complete cipher gets nominated does that argument fly -- and that reflects on the lack of wisdom in the choice.

How can Hugh complain about "cherry-picked" documentation when the White House has provided next to nothing except personal testimonials about what a great lawyer Miers is? That "thin set" of documentation represents everything the Bush administration has produced on her behalf. If Hugh has a problem with the sample size, then he should take that up with the White House and not the critics. As far as her skills as an attorney and White House bureaucrat go, I find those arguments too weak for Hugh's normal rhetorical excellence. The world is full of great lawyers, just as it's full of people who have served five years in the White House. I wouldn't put Andy Card on the Supreme Court, and I wouldn't put Karl Rove on the Supreme Court either. I wouldn't put Bruce Lindsay there. Would Hugh?

If the White House wants its floor vote, it can have it. Hugh knows that by prior arrangement, any candidate for the Supreme Court automatically gets that regardless of whether the Judiciary Committee recommends rejection or confirmation. Nothing but wisdom will keep Miers from a floor vote which increasingly appears to hold no hope for success. Why spend all that political capital just to pretend that this entire nomination hasn't been a huge mistake from its inception?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 27, 2005 7:20 AM

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