Entry for October 27, 2005

Crony Baloney by Rob McGrath  at his site, Not Banned Yet. 

 SCOTUS POCUS

Progressives need to organize and pressure the center to join them in saying no to ultraconservatives and to cronies.  It is time for a Supreme Court nominee independent of the Executive who makes decisions for all of us, not a narrow constituency.

Focus on the Family’s James Dobson has deserted Harriet Miers.  Ann Coulter is crowing on Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room”, “This is an absolutely historic, stunning event. I mean…this does show the power of the radical right wing, as Democrats call it, normal Americans, as I call it, in this country.” Right wing blogs are discussing the difference between being “borked” and being “miered”.

On October 27, on the eve of a special prosecutor’s announcement of whether indictments will be issued to White House senior staff members like Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and vice-president Cheney, George Bush scuttled Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court to replace swing vote Sandra Day O’Connor.  In her letter, asking that he withdraw her nomination, Miers complained, “I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy. While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had asked for records, short of such privilege, to gauge Miers’ position on constitutional issues; they had no other writings on which to base an opinion. The conservative group  Progress for America which had launched a site JusticeMiers.com ignored the Senators’ self-limited requests.  “Ms. Miers has a long and distinguished record of service to her country and the field of law. Unfortunately, Harriet Miers recognizes that many Senators will not be satisfied until they gain access to internal White House documents protected by attorney client privilege. Her withdrawal demonstrates her deep commitment to the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of powers. “

Meanwhile, the progressive People for the American Way commented, “

“Harriet Miers’ withdrawal from her Supreme Court nomination demonstrates that ultraconservatives are so determined to swing the Supreme Court sharply to the right that they pounded their own president’s nominee into submission, and now demand a nominee with unquestioned far-right credentials.”

It speculates, “Now that Harriett Miers has withdrawn, we hope that President Bush will nominate a respected jurist who can draw bipartisan support and respect. But we doubt that will happen. The far-right wing of the Republican Party brought down Harriet Miers’ nomination because they want to replace Sandra Day O’Connor with a justice who is openly committed to shifting the Court dramatically to the right. That has been the goal of right-wing leaders since they first endorsed Bush for president, and they’re now demanding the payback they believe they’ve earned.

The group has put out a fundraising alert.  “With the President’s approval ratings at an all-time low, right-wing leaders and their allies in Congress are now demanding a nominee of their choosing — a far-right jurist to replace the moderate conservative Sandra Day O’Connor. A shift further to the right could reverse the progressive gains of the past 70 years for a generation or more. We need funds immediately to prepare for the battle ahead to ensure that our rights and liberties are not lost to a radical takeover of the Supreme Court.”

Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org Political Action Executive Director issued a statement saying,  “The lesson of the Miers withdrawal is that Presidents must not appoint unqualified cronies or personal friends to the highest Court in the land, nor to other positions of critical responsibility to the public welfare. We may never know the real reason for Harriet Miers’ withdrawal. Perhaps it was her involvement in the Plame case as White House Counsel. Regardless, whether it’s the Supreme Court or FEMA, no more cronies, just qualified public servants please.”

Editor’s Note:   To read an analysis of the right wing attacks, see Give Us A Right-Winger or Else. 

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