Saturday, October 22, 2005
SHIFTING GROUND: WHITE HOUSE IS CONSIDERING THE WITHDRAWAL OF HARRIET MIERS NOMINATION TO THE SUP. CT.
The Washington Times reports that the White House is floating a trial balloon amongst conservatives about the possibility of withdrawing the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.
A cacophony of conservative voices will sing, "hallelujah" at this piece of news. The constant drumbeat of criticism for Miers, fired from President Bush's right flank, is too much for the White House.
At no point in the nomination process - initial announcement, early reactions, perusal of credentials, questionnaire answers, meetings with senators - has Miers proved to be a wildly popular pick with Republicans and conservatives alike. She has had her supporters here and there but has not enjoyed the widespread support that met Chief Justice Roberts.
PREDICTION: Harriet Miers will not make the Supreme Court and probably won't even make it to the Senate's Judiciary Committee hearings. In the face of the White House's dogged determination to shepard her nomination as well as President Bush's stubborness despite conservative criticism, Miers is a seriously wounded nominee. Despite not even yet declaring an endorsement or disfavor for the Miers nomination (we would have waited for the hearings to make a decision) The Galvin Opinion can confidently predict that Miers will not replace Justice O'Connor.
The White House has begun making contingency plans for the withdrawal of Harriet Miers as President Bush's choice to fill a seat on the Supreme Court, conservative sources said yesterday.
"White House senior staff are starting to ask outside people, saying, 'We're not discussing pulling out her nomination, but if we were to, do you have any advice as to how we should do it?' " a conservative Republican with ties to the White House told The Washington Times.
The White House denied making such calls. "Absolutely not true," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. But the conservative political consultant said that he had received such a query from Sara Taylor, director of the Office of White House Political Affairs. Miss Taylor denied making any such calls.
A second Republican, who is the leader of a conservative interest group and has ties to the White House, confirmed that calls are being made to a select group of conservative activists who are not employed by the government. "The political people in the White House are very worried about how she will do in the hearings," the second conservative leader said. "I think they have finally awakened."
Miss Miers will spend the next two weeks doing "murder boards," mock hearings where people pose as senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee and question her as if she were at her hearings.
Republican lawyers on the committee staff have said Miss Miers' meetings with senators have gone poorly. That's why, they say, the White House has shifted its strategy from the private meetings to "boning up" for the hearings.
Publicly, senators on both sides of the aisle have said Miss Miers needs to spend more time preparing for the hearings. Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, said Miss Miers needs a "crash course" in constitutional law.
Insiders see hint of Miers pullout - Nation/Politics-The Washington Times, America's Newspaper