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October 27, 2005
No Time For Celebration

No conservative or Republican should feel like gloating over the withdrawal of Harriet Miers today, although perhaps a feeling of relief would be understandable. Bush made a mistake in nominating Miers, but it wasn't Miers' mistake -- and she acted honorably in withdrawing her name once it became clear that her nomination enjoyed little support among Republicans in the Senate and elsewhere. She apparently will remain on Bush's staff as White House counsel, which is where she should have stayed.

On the other hand, let's also not engage in sniping at each other further now that the Miers nomination has ended. We need to focus on the nomination ahead, and how best to engage the full Senate caucus to line up behind a candidate that reflects GOP control of the Senate. That requires not just a demonstrably originalist thinker who can help transform the Court from its activist impulses and return it to its traditional and balanced role, but also a unified base that can put as much energy into supporting such a candidate as we put into the debate over Miers.

Hugh Hewitt has some good ideas on how to go about this on his site today. We're hearing that the White House expects to name a replacement soon, perhaps by the end of the weekend. They need to select someone who will unite and excite the base, someone that doesn't need to hide an originalist juridical temperament under a bushel. We've had enough stealth candidates, and I think the White House and the Republican caucus in the Senate may finally understand this. We control the process, or at least we should -- let's start acting like it.

Janice Rogers Brown would still be my favorite selection, but Bush has a number of excellent choices ahead of him. He could pick J. Michael Luttig or Michael McConnell for their years of experience and their courageous writing on behalf of originalist and conservative jurisprudence. Brown and Priscilla Owen have both recently been vetted and interviewed by the Senate, and their recent passage would make it difficult for the Democrats to stage a defense -- and Brown, at least, would make minced meat of the Judiciary Democrats who attempted to debate her on the law. For those who want a practicing lawyer, Maureen Mahoney still remains an open pick -- the "female John Roberts" who has litigated over a dozen cases at the Supreme Court and has excellent credentials as a candidate. Maybe someone could persuade Miguel Estrada to take another swing at the Senate, too.

What should the White House avoid? Attorneys who could easily be perceived as cronies or political hacks. Alberto Gonzales would be the former and not the latter, but he's too close to the President and his nomination would bring up executive privilege yet again. Conservatives stand for more than just originalism -- we want to see excellence in executive nominations, something sorely lacking lately in nominations such as Miers, Julie Myers, Michael Brown, and Bernard Kerik. Those nominated had better have impressive resumes and bring high-quality erudition and encyclopedic knowledge. If we can get that from a night-court judge with a law degree from Cal State Northridge, that's fine, but that had better include a high degree of excellence in communication skills, both in oral and in written presentation.

We want the best candidate for the job this time around, not just the most politically expedient. The conservative/libertarian coalition worked damned hard to provide the Republicans with the White House and a significant majority in the Senate. If they can't take advantage of it, they will see it slip away as their base loses faith in the party leadership. Each Supreme Court nomination amounts to the Super Bowl for that unity, and the White House should start to act as though it understands that.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 27, 2005 5:00 PM

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» What Now? from bRight & Early
Perhaps that title should be Who Now. I spent as much of the day as work would allow looking for and reading a wide variety of reactions to Miss Miers withdraw. There are as many reactions as there were opinions about her nomination. No real surpris... [Read More]

Tracked on October 27, 2005 6:00 PM

» Mahoney for Supreme Court? from The Four Horsemen
I've engaged in the most superficial search possible to find a new nominee for Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. I give you... Maureen Mahoney. A tiny excerpt from an AP story:Another nonjudicial candidate is Maureen Mahoney,... [Read More]

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Tracked on October 27, 2005 10:04 PM

» Harriet Miers Withdrawal from The Lone Elm
I think that Hugh Hewitt's article in the New York Times pretty much sums up the situation from my perspective. There were very few critics of Miers that were principled and civil. It was not the best nomination he could [Read More]

Tracked on October 28, 2005 6:03 AM

» Harriet Miers Withdraws Nomination from All Things Beautiful
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey @ Captain's Quarters: "No conservative or Republican should feel like gloating over the withdrawal of Harriet Miers today, although perhaps a feeling of relief would be understandable. Bush made a mistake in nominating Miers, but i... [Read More]

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For the record my pick would be Janice Rodgers Brown. She just has such a compelling story. Politically it would be very interesting to watch. The Dems would pull out all the stops to scuttle her nomination. The Republicans would claim they were sexist... [Read More]

Tracked on October 30, 2005 9:53 PM

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