Making the right decision

by Beacon Staff • November 2, 2005

It was ultimately the Democratic Party, however, that eliminated Harriet Miers from serving on the United States Supreme Court.,"As the Supreme Court confirmation process begins for recently nominated Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Alito, the Democratic Party is left licking its wounds and crying foul about the new appointee.

It was ultimately the Democratic Party, however, that eliminated Harriet Miers from serving on the United States Supreme Court. Miers had been Bush's second nominee to the Supreme Court after the successful confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts earlier this year. Miers was set to replace retiring Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O'Connor.

When Miers was nominated, I strongly supported her candidacy for a position on the bench. I really thought that Miers was a great candidate, not simply because of her experience in law, but also because of the bipartisan support that Bush helped achieve for her. Little did I know how quickly that strong support would falter. Bush and Miers were left to fend for themselves against a barrage of criticisms from both the right and the left. But, I blame the Democrats more than the Republicans for Miers' withdrawal.

On the first day that the president announced Miers' candidacy, I, as well as millions of other Americans, watched Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid walk into a press conference with Miers to defend her lack of judicial experience and applaud her many achievements.

I was proud of Reid for reaching across the aisle and of Bush for seeking a consensus on his nomination. (Reid is said to have suggested Miers in the first place.) Yet, as the criticisms against Miers began to pile up in the media, Bush was left to defend this bipartisan candidate while the Democrats who supported Miers stayed on the sidelines, watching Bush struggle with his own base as well as with several key Democrats.

This, and Miers' utmost respect for President Bush and his administration, ultimately forced her to withdraw. After his father learned not to trust praise from the Democratic Party (with his tax increases that initially earned praise from the Dems but then earned their wrath in the '92 election), George W. Bush has used the withdrawal of the Miers nomination to go back to his Republican base. Even after the Democrats (including Massachusetts' own Senator Ted Kennedy) asked for Bush to unify the nation with his next nominee, Bush realized that their request was not to be trusted.

The Miers matter proved that-a unifying nominee had been named and then she was pushed and prodded until she had to resign. A contentious Senate battle is expected over Alito. With this nominee, however, Bush has the support of many Republicans who had questioned the choice of Miers. That is the support that Bush can trust-the support he can depend on as the confirmation battle begins.

John Hanlon is a senior political communication major and a contributer to The Beacon. He is also Press Secretary of the SGA, though his views expressed above are not in any way associated with the organization.

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