"The wisdom of those who drafted our Constitution and conceived our nation as functioning with three strong and independent branches have proven truly remarkable. It is the responsibility of every generation to be true to the founders' vision of the proper role of the courts in our society. If confirmed, I recognize that I will have a tremendous responsibility to keep our judicial system strong and to help ensure that the courts meet their obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution." So said Harriet Miers, President Bush's nominee for associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Who is Harriet Miers? President Bush's White House counsel, the woman who could fill Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's seat, is a completely unknown quantity. Except for the fact that Miers has helped out Meals on Wheels, we know nothing about her. The usual suspects have already declared their opposition and support for Miers, but that tells us little about her judicial philosophy.
Just what is her judicial philosophy? No one seems to know. Beyond the assurances of President Bush ("she will strictly interpret our Constitution and laws") and Vice President Dick Cheney ("I'm confident that she has a conservative judicial philosophy"), there is literally no record of her views.
So why did President Bush pick Miers? For two very simple reasons. First, she's a woman. Apparently, President Bush thought he could score some political points by nominating a woman to fill a woman's seat. This was obviously a high priority for him; during his nomination speech, Bush repeatedly referenced Miers' accomplishments in "breaking down barriers to women that remain … a generation after President Reagan appointed Justice O'Connor to the Supreme Court." While choosing Miers as an affirmative action candidate exhibits the soft bigotry of low expectations he so derides, President Bush likely sees the Miers choice as a political coup.