By withdrawing her nomination, Harriet Miers spared herself an agonizing inquisition and probable rejection by the Senate and did George W. Bush the greatest service of her career. She may just have helped him save his presidency.
Like a school marm indulging a teacher's pet, Miss Miers just gave George Bush permission to retake the final exam he booted badly. She has given him a second chance to succeed where Nixon, Ford, Reagan and his father all failed: to become the president who rang down the curtain on 50 years of judicial tyranny and reshaped the Supreme Court into the great constitutionalist body the Founding Fathers intended.
George Bush is a lucky man to have a friend like Harriet Miers.
Had her nomination been pursued through the judiciary committee to the full Senate, it would have meant civil war inside the party. President Bush would have been forced to watch congressional members of his party and conservatives publicly call for rejection and defeat of the woman who had given him a decade of devoted service.
The fallout from this fratricidal war could have lasted for years. By standing down, Miers called off the family fight about to erupt inside the president's own household.
Nothing better befits Harriet Miers' nomination than the style and grace of her leaving it. Mirabile dictu, it may have been The Washington Post that spared us this ordeal by delivering a painless coup de grace.
Twenty-four hours before Miers withdrew, the Post carried on page one the report of a startling speech she delivered in 1993 to a Dallas women's group. As the Post's Jo Becker reported, while still president of the State Bar of Texas, Miers "defended judges who order lawmakers to address social concerns."
But judges who "order lawmakers to address social concerns" that the lawmakers decline or refuse to take up are the quintessence of judicial activism -- i.e., it is the substitution by judges of their own ideas of what law and public policy ought to be for that of the men and women elected to write laws and to make public policy.
The Post went on: "While judicial activism is derided by many conservatives, Miers said that sometimes 'officials would rather abandon to the courts the hard questions so they can respond to constituents: I did not want to do that -- the court is making me.'"