The criteria for a Supreme Court nominee have historically been: A) proven facility with the law and B) personal integrity. That is the argument most conservatives have made ever since liberals politicized the selection process starting with Judge Robert Bork. Surely Miers has shown facility with the law, and if she lacks integrity it will be revealed very soon. We have all argued that a justice's personal beliefs are not relevant. All a justice does is apply the law -- as written by legislators -- to each case under consideration. Judge Roberts returned to this truth repeatedly during his torture before the Senate Judiciary Committee. If Miers is capable, she will hold to this fundamental truth and be nominated.
Were the Republicans to overthrow the principles they solemnly defended during the Roberts hearing and sink Miers' nomination the consequence would be anarchy in subsequent Senate hearings and a messy victory for partisan Democrats. The Republicans have claimed the principle that barring maleficent revelations a president should be granted his nominee for the federal judiciary. If they were to join the Democrats in contradicting their own sensible principle and thwarting the president, the partisan Democrats would be justified in voting down any future conservative nominee. That would mean raising to the Supreme Court only nominees of their choice or, as I say, anarchy.
On the face of it none of this will happen. The conservatives have every right to be disappointed that a seasoned conservative of superlative intellect was not nominated by the president. But they are not going to throw the nominating process into chaos or rather into the control of primitive partisans such as Senator Patrick Leahy.
Washington's yearning for excitement is what actuates this hullabaloo. It also actuates the press's incessant coverage of it. This town is easily bored and boredom often sets in motion some of history's most frivolous events. Think back. Was it not general boredom that accounted for the election of Bill Clinton over the perfectly normal President George H. W. Bush?
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