This is what happens when a floundering president nominates his lawyer with no judicial experience and a secretive judicial philosophy to the nation’s highest court.
Harriet Miers, nominated on Oct. 3 by President George W. Bush for the Supreme Court, removed her name from consideration Thursday, ending a bid that never really had any momentum or a chance to succeed.
Bush had to know that Miers was not going to fly because observers from both ends of the political spectrum immediately expressed displeasure with the choice.
Liberals and Democrats accused Bush of nominating his close friend and lawyer rather than someone with legal and constitutional knowledge.
Meanwhile, conservatives were put off by Miers’ philosophical ambiguity because she was chosen to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, a moderate whose successor could shift the balance of the court to the right.
Bush got no support, and it must be embarrassing because even his most staunch supporters have lost some faith in his decisions. To avoid more embarrassment, Bush will likely tap a known conservative this time around. By doing so, he would connect himself with his base, and a Republican-controlled Congress would most likely confirm a conservative nominee.
Conspiracy theorists might believe Bush nominated Miers knowing she would eventually withdraw. Was this all a phony attempt to reach out to Democrats, moderates and liberals? After all, Bush’s ideologies, unlike Miers’, are no secret, and there is no question Bush would rather have a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. These questions, we hope, will be answered before a new justice is nominated and confirmed.
Assuming this is not the case and Bush honestly hoped Miers would be confirmed, it is a blow to an already shaky situation.
The Iraq war reached a grim milestone and reminder when the U.S.-led coalition lost its 2,000th soldier this week. CIA leak indictments could be inside the White House in a matter of days, and Bush’s approval rating still stinks.
The way things are going, it is not a question of if, but when something else will go awry for this administration. And truth be told, it has nobody to blame but itself.