Monday, October 03, 2005

Underwhelmed

I wonder if Harriet Miers ever dreamt of being a Supreme Court Justice. Frankly, looking at her resume (as provided by the White House and posted on the Washington Post), I might guess not. She's a career lawyer, and a long-serving political one at that. She was W's personal lawyer before attaining the White House, and she currently serves as White House Counsel. As the WaPo further points out in their reporting of this announcement:

 
If confirmed, she would be a rare appointee with no experience as a judge at any level. Among the non-judges appointed in modern history are the late William H. Rehnquist, who was a top Justice Department official in the Nixon administration, and Abe Fortas, an influential Washington attorney and close adviser to Lyndon B. Johnson, who nominated him to the high court in 1965.
 


There was much to trouble me over Mr. Roberts' nomination to SCOTUS, but I must admit that I had more than a little admiration for the man's resume and even his judicial thinking (even if his answers overflowed with abundant legalese--see this great animated bit from this last weekend's SNL season premiere done by Robert Smigel for a bit of a dig at his verbosity). I don't get much of that feeling about Ms. Miers (though, admittedly, we've only just been introduced).

But is there something more to this nomination than her credentials? Salon's War Room certainly is wondering about that:

 
But Bush's announcement this morning follows a more recent precedent, too. In July, when revelations about Karl Rove's role in the outing of Valerie Plame were hitting too close for comfort, the president responded by rushing the announcement that he was nominating John G. Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Today, with new revelations in the Plame case striking even closer to home, Bush went before the cameras at 8 a.m. EDT -- when much of America was still asleep -- to announce that he was picking Miers to replace Roberts as the replacement for O'Connor.

Was it a pre-emptive strike?

Maybe Bush planned all along to announce Miers' nomination this morning. But the Plamegate revelations over the weekend gave him plenty of reason to move quickly. After New York Times reporter Judith Miller broke her silence and testified before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury Friday, the Times posted a story suggesting that Vice President Dick Cheney played a direct role in deciding how the White House would respond to Joseph Wilson's damaging op-ed piece about Iraq. Relying on a source familiar with the testimony of Scooter Libby, who is Cheney's chief of staff and the man identified as Miller's source, the Times says that Bush administration "efforts to limit the damage from Mr. Wilson's criticism extended as high as Mr. Cheney."
[...]
On Sunday, there was word that Plamegate could extend to the president himself. During ABC's "This Week," George Stephanopoulos said that a source told him "that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of [the] discussions" about how to respond to Wilson's op-ed piece.

What does it all mean? In the Washington Post Sunday, Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus say that two lawyers representing witnesses in the Plame investigation have begun to surmise that Fitzgerald is now weighing a criminal conspiracy charge against a group of senior White House officials. "Under this legal tactic," VandeHei and Pincus write, "Fitzgerald would attempt to establish that at least two or more officials agreed to take affirmative steps to discredit and retaliate against Wilson and leak sensitive government information about his wife."

Who would those officials be? The list of possible candidates is long and includes Rove, Libby, Ari Fleischer, Cheney and -- if Stephanopoulos and his source are to be believed -- the president himself. The Post says that Fitzgerald could make his prosecutorial decisions as early as this week. Which means that, all things considered at the White House, today's a terrific day for talking about Harriet Miers.
 


1 Comments:

At 2:10 AM, Blogger nope said...

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God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
To see my family view this page. My Family


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