Bill Kristol says:
I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized.
… What does this say about the next three years of the Bush administration--leaving aside for a moment the future of the Court? Surely this is a pick from weakness. Is the administration more broadly so weak? What are the prospects for a strong Bush second term? What are the prospects for holding solid GOP majorities in Congress in 2006 if conservatives are demoralized? And what elected officials will step forward to begin to lay the groundwork for conservative leadership after Bush?
But fellow Standard scribe Fred Barnes says give the president a chance, reporting that Bush and adviser Karl Rove watched Miers guide the process that produced now-Chief Justice John Roberts. Barnes writes:
The president and others at the White House have had long discussions with her about judges. She and Rove were involved in questioning at least five candidates for the court vacancy Roberts has filled. From those talks over the months, I'm told, it became clear to Bush that she had exactly the philosophy of judicial restraint he favors and that she wouldn't "grow" as a justice and turn into a swing vote or a liberal.Meanwhile, the Standard's website is asking readers to weigh in on whether they agree or disagree with the pick. At the time we posted this, sentiment was running 74% disapprove, and 26% approve.
Also, I'm told, the president is fully aware of the stakes in this nomination. Roberts's replacement of William Rehnquist as chief justice was simply a conservative replacing a conservative. But Miers would succeed a swing justice. With her, I'm told further, Bush believes he would be altering the ideological makeup of the court, moving it to the right.
… Conservatives shouldn't throw up their hands in despair, at least yet. They should wait until they hear from Miers as a witness before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's then that we'll begin to find out if Bush was correct in his view that she's the person to fulfill the dreams of so many conservatives and finally shove the Supreme Court to the right.
David Frum is downright dismayed:
The Supreme Court is exactly the place where the president should draw the line. The Court will be this president's great lasting conservative domestic legacy. He has chosen to put that legacy at risk by using what may well be his last Supreme Court choice to reward a loyal counselor. But this president, any president, has larger loyalties.After an angry posting, Steve Dillard pulls back – a tiny little bit:
And those to whom he owed those loyalties have reason today to be disappointed and alarmed.
O.k., I've received several calls and emails from conservative buddies telling me to chill out and reserve judgment on Miers. I suppose I should do that, but I am really furious about the president's unwillingness to nominate an outspoken legal conservative. This nomination is not just about one person. This country desperately needs to have a national debate about the proper method of interpreting the Constitution. And what does the president do? He balks at taking on the penumbra lovers on the merits. Disgusting.And Michelle Malkin sums up conservative reaction with a lengthy list of reactions and her own headline: "Utterly Underwhelmed." More Malkin:
It's not just that Miers has zero judicial experience. It's that she's so transparently a crony "diversity" pick while so many other vastly more qualified and impressive candidates went to waste. If this is President Bush's bright idea to buck up his sagging popularity--among conservatives as well as the nation at large--one wonders whom he would have picked in rosier times. Shudder.Talk Left reminds readers:
Don't expect the Senate Democrats to put up a fight on Miers. On a blogger conference call last week with Sen. Harry Reid (I wrote about it here), he told us he asked the President to consider Harriet Miers.After surveying the early reactions, DailyKos says:
My early sense is that this is already a victory -- both politically and judicially -- for Democrats. In fact, it should be great fund watching conservatives go after Bush. He may actually break that 39-40 floor in the polls, given he's just pissed off the very people who have propped up his failed presidency.
And the reactions continue.
So who did the president pass up for Miers? Here's a short list of candidates for this vacancy we culled from various sources (in no particular order):
Alberto R. Gonzales -- U.S. Attorney General
Larry D. Thompson -- Pepsico General Counsel, Former Deputy U.S. AG
Karen J. Williams -- 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge
Edith Brown Clement -- 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Alice Batchelder -- 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
J. Michael Luttig -- 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Edith Jones -- 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals
J. Harvie Wilkinson -- 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Priscilla Owen -- 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Samuel R. Alito Jr. -- 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Michael McConnell -- 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Maura Corrigan -- Michigan Supreme Court
Janice Rogers Brown -- D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Emilio Garza -- 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Diane Sykes -- 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Ricardo Hinojosa -- U.S. District Court in Texas
Consuelo Callahan -- 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Miguel Estrada -- Attorney
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)