The buck stops here.
So, it's official: Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court. I take full responsibility for this event, or at least the timing thereof. Last night, I prepared, in a hoped-for return from my blogging hiatus, a long post on the Miers nomination. I was going to clean it up and post it this morning. In order to ensure that said post would be pointless, Miers withdrew.
A few quick observations:
- Charles Krauthammer called it: the face-saving gesture was executive privilege. Although I question how much face it could possibly save, at this point.
- Although I am happy that Miers has withdrawn, I do feel sorry for her, to an extent. She's hardly an innocent bystander in this, to be sure -- but it's got to be difficult to say no when your close friend, the president, approaches you with such an offer. In two years, I doubt anyone outside law/news junkies will remember her, but this has to damage her career. She went from being a politically connected, successful, accomplished corporate litigator, to an unqualified hack who can't write, in the span of a month.
If she were already a federal judge, she could return to that position, secure in life tenure. If she were an academic, she could turn back to academia. If she had been forced to withdraw by a nanny problem, she could have returned to her career and laughed it off. If she had been Borked, she could turn to the conservative book/lecture circuit for support. But what does someone in her position do now?
- I wonder how much of a role, if any, blogs played in all this. I also wonder if there was any one factor, such as yesterday's revelation of Miers speech suggesting she may not want to ban abortion at all, or if it was just the constant drumbeat of opposition which Bush and his minions couldn't quell.
- I feel sorry for Sandra Day O'Connor, whose conditional resignation is now likely to drag on for more months (thanks to Chief Justice Rehnquist's inconsiderate timing of his death).
- I see that Democrats and the activist left are using this as a rhetorical weapon against the conservative movement. I doubt that will have any traction, but they couldn't resist. This is, of course, merely setting themselves up to oppose Miers' replacement. They've got the script all worked out: "Bush nominated a moderate to replace O'Connor, but those ultra-right wing ideologues couldn't tolerate that, so we know that this new nominee fill-in-the-blank must be so radical, so we oppose him. Or her. Whoever."