I don't normally dream about Supreme Court picks, but I've been pondering the nomination of Harriet Miers, and early this morning I woke up with a sudden thought that was so startling, I had to get up and blog about it.
First, I couldn't care less that Miers didn't go to an Ivy-League law school nor have previous experience as a judge –except for the lack of paper trail, and under normal circumstances her lack paper trail would be a minor problem. What really has been bothering me about Miers is the fact that Harry Reid supports her. For reasons I outlined earlier, the lack of a paper trail makes Harry Reid's support especially ominous. And the lack of paper trail, combined with Reid's support makes every hint of liberalism worrying.
But what if there were a completely different explanation for Harry Reid's support? What if Harry Reid is supporting Miers, not because he knows something about her that we don't know but because he has noticed something that is sitting out there in plain sight? A reason that everyone else is just ignoring?
What is Reid's essential problem? He is worried that for the rest of his tenure in office, he will be forced to openly support and vote for unpopular social reforms like gay marriage because there will be no unelected leftist Supreme Court to force the reforms on an unwilling populace. He is worried that George Bush's eight years in office will have consequences that will last for generations.
Harry Reid is in an untenable position. He has tried to stave off disaster so far by bluster and filibluster*, but he has to be aware that this issue is helping Republicans, and he has to be worried about a rule change that will end his obstructionist tactics permanently. And so far, Reid has completely failed in his efforts to force George Bush to nominate judges that Reid would find acceptable.
So what's the best likely case for Harry Reid and the other Democrats and RINOs that have supported Miers? It is a Bush-type Supreme Court pick who won't be there very long. Then, they can always hope to win back the presidency and Senate in time to replace whoever Bush puts in there.
I speculate that this is Bush's brilliant compromise –he nominates someone who isn't likely to be on the court long, someone who is already advanced in age. Bush gets the kind of justice he wants, and Harry Reid and Co. get the hope of replacing her soon with someone more to their liking.
I speculate that Bush's little session of advice and consent with Reid went something like this: "OK, here's the deal. I've decided to nominate Harriet Miers, a pro-life strict constructionist who is sixty years old. If that nomination gets filibustered or stalled in committee, I'll just give up on her and and nominate a pro-life strict constructionist who is forty-five years old. Now, Reidster, can I have your support on Harriet Miers?
Reid said, "Harriet? I love Harriet. Sweetest old lady lawyer I've ever met. Couldn't be happier."
This nomination puts the Democrats in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between a good tactical move and good strategic move. Supporting Miers is a good tactical move because it minimizes the bad consequences for them. But it is a lousy strategic move because after they let the conservative Church Lady from Texas sail through the nomination process, they are going to look silly opposing every other conservative Christian that comes up (the strategic consequences will be mitigated by the MSM, which will actively protect the Democrats from being perceived as hypocrites).
I'm still not thrilled with the nomination because I wanted a fight to end the presumption against pro-life strict constructionist candidates, but all in all, I'm now feeling a lot better about things.
* filibluster: a filibuster where you only have to threaten to debate endlessly and you don't actually have to do it.