Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Is Harriet's Middle Name "Quag"?

'Cause she's certainly succeeded in completely bogging down the Bush administration!

Republican staff members on the Judiciary Committee usually research and prepare arguments to defend the president's nominees. But Republican staff members on the panel said committee lawyers were doing research to rebut the "talking points" the White House has provided for senators to support Ms. Miers's nomination.
I spoke with a conservative lawyer last week (two days after Miers was nominated) who was fairly devastated by the pick. After previously doing various media appearances to defend White House judicial nominations, he's turned down requests to discuss Miers -- "They haven't given me enough information to talk about her."
More significantly, this lawyer told me that it was his understanding that Miers was behind the rolling out of Bush's first Supreme Court pick, John Roberts. Well, as it happened, she might not have been too good at that mission:

Thrown on the defensive by recent revelations about Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s legal work, White House aides are delaying the release of tens of thousands of documents from the Reagan administration to give themselves time to find any new surprises before they are turned into political ammunition by Democrats.

Before Roberts's July 19 selection by President Bush, there was no comprehensive effort to examine the voluminous paper trail from his previous tours as an important legal and political hand under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, administration officials said.

Three weeks later, these officials say they recognize that Roberts's record is going to be central to Senate confirmation hearings scheduled to begin Sept. 6, and lawyers and political aides are urgently reviewing more than 50,000 pages -- at the same time denying requests from Democrats for an immediate release.
As it happened, the records release ended up aiding Roberts' case -- the memos showing that he almost always took the conservative position in intra-Reagan administration policy squabbles helped shore up Roberts' bona fides with conservatives. Ironically, it may well have been liberal Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter's staff that raised the red flag to get the White House to go through the material before it was released to the press.

Who should have known those records were in the Reagan library? That would have been Harriet Miers -- whose work in judicial confirmations the White House is being touted as indicative of her competence and commitment to the conservative cause.

And, of course, "sexism" is the new "patriotism" -- by which we mean "the last refuge of scoundrels." Laura comes to the aid of her husband and his choice.

UPDATE: Lightly edited to correct spelling and grammatical errors.

UPDATE II: Good help is so hard to find these days.

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