Although Democrats did their best to try to diminish the spectacularly well-credentialed John Roberts, President Bush's pick to replace the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, they have no motivation to knock down Miers.Since Miers was nominated, I've seen lots of small, worrisome pointers that the Democrats will support her. Could it really be? I decided to go talk to one of my friends, a poli sci major and future Democratic foot soldier who's very interested in political strategy. I thought he could give me some insights into the Democratic mind on this one. Here's what he said (roughly):
It is, of course, much easier to attack Miers. Her résumé pales alongside that of Roberts. Looking at Roberts' elite schooling and stellar career path, one could fairly conclude that Bush had selected the very best person for the job.
By contrast, Bush seems to have picked Miers solely because she's an old crony of his.
Nevertheless, on the day when Bush announced the nomination, Democratic senators looked pleased. They must be even happier now that a substantial number of erstwhile Bush supporters have not only groused about the nomination, but they have also kept up the pressure of criticism for over a week and even called for Miers to withdraw.
Do the Democrats have reason to think Miers will emerge as a liberal once she has her lifetime appointment? More likely they merely see her as preferable to the staunchly ideological conservatives that were on Bush's short list.
Miers might vote with the liberal justices, but even if she votes with the conservatives, she might write inferior opinions that lack persuasive power and can be denounced as hack work when the time comes.
But whatever the Democrats are predicting will happen if and when Miers ascends to the court, there is no reason they should want to muss themselves up in a fight when Bush's own partisans are tearing up the nominee and - a nice bonus - ripping into each other...
So the odds are we will soon be saying "Justice Harriet Miers" and something along the lines of:
How did that happen?
"If I'm the Democrats, I'm going to sit back and watch the conservatives tear into her. That's what's in the news right now. The right-wing bloggosphere is going nuts over this."
Me: "If you were a senator, would you vote for her?"
Me: "Do you think that's what the Democratic senators are thinking?"
"I don't know. If I was one, I'd wait until the hearings and come with some really good questions. She'll be easy to pick apart. Some will vote for her. The cautious Democrat will vote for her for fear of who Bush will nominate next. The responsible Democrat will say 'no, we cannot have this woman on the Supreme Court. I think people are looking to much at the short term politics, and not the long term of what's best for the country. She might be confirmed, but I hope not."