I am completely unified with the good Doc Zycher both in his opposition to the Miers nomination and in his distaste for W’s leadership at this point in the presidency.
I was extremely underwhelmed by his choice of Dick Cheney for Vice-President back in ’00. Do I lack appreciation for the magnficent Mr. Cheney? No, he’s a stud, but I knew the election would be hard fought and it didn’t make sense to add a fellow to the ticket who tipped the scales not at all on any state that mattered. How did he pick Dick? Well, Mr. Cheney was charged with finding the right veep candidate, just like Harriet Miers was supposed to find the right court nominees. Twice on crucial personnel decisions, Bush has taken the (personally) easy way out and offered the job to a friend of the family.
I want to be clear about something. I expect Harriet Miers is superbly talented and has done her job well, but we are trying to have a debate both on the court and in the public about judicial philosophy. John Roberts, who was arguably the top Supreme Court advocate in the nation prior to his appeals court appointment, comes ultra-well equipped to join Thomas and Scalia in writing provocative opinions and perhaps even moving the court’s decisions through sheer force of argument. Harriet Miers has nothing in her record to indicate she has that type of temperament or ability. She will also carry the disadvantage of joining the court without the kind of resume’ that will command respect among the other members. If Bush had picked Michael McConnell for instance, he would have come on board as an elite legal scholar and an appellate judge. Instant respect. Instant ability to move the direction of the court. Instant vindication of GOP principles because we are supposed to believe in meritocracy. And of course, there have been female judges who have made names for themselves, as well, and who were far more deserving than Ms. Miers.
I believe the president should be able to appoint people he trusts to his cabinet and White House positions, but that is emphatically NOT the key point to be observed in nominations to the court.