Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers walks to the Capitol Building with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennesee and Senate Judiciary Conmittee Chairman Arlen Specter, October 3, 2005. (AP/Lauren Victoria Burke)
They may eventually come around but this week people the president usually can count on were his toughest critics. They called his choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court "cronyism." They said she was unqualified. They said the president had chosen to run from a fight and betrayed his promise to nominate judges in the mode of Justice Scalia. Some of his supporters said, "Don't worry, she will be fine." Joining the panel is James Taranto, editor of OpinionJournal.com.
"I haven't seen conservatives as angry since the first President Bush raised taxes in 1990. What has got them so upset about this nomination? Do you agree with them?"
"Yes, I do. I think what has them upset is that the Supreme Court was probably the one thing out there in public policy land that conservatives thought they didn't have to worry about. They have been spending 25 years creating a bench, a set of strong candidates, to go onto the Supreme Court. This is the last thing anyone in the conservative community expected to happen."
"The debate among the right is mostly about who she isn't, not about who she is. Everybody points to the long list of candidates, many women included, who have a defined judicial philosophy which has been refined over the years and is well-known. But Harriet Miers herself is a very impressive candidate."
"She could turn out to be an excellent justice, and we could find out from the answers to some of the questions we have at the confirmation hearings. We don't know. But the precedent is a little disconcerting, that one of the primary qualifications now for serving on the Supreme Court is having no paper trail."
"Part of the reason for the feeling of betrayal is the idea that she is the most easily confirmable. There is a sense on the right that President Bush ducked a fight. It is a fight that is important for the country to have, because now is the time they can win this fight with 55 senators. The right feels that this is a winning issue for them politically."