Friday, October 07, 2005

They Wouldn't...They Couldn't...They Might

It has been 5 days since President George W. Bush nominated his White House Counsel Harriet Miers to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. It is the moment the far right has been waiting for for 5 years. The moment their "conservative" president would shape the highest court in the land for a generation and turn the court backward (forward in their minds) and overturn many of the civil rights, civil liberties and criminal justice cases in recent history.

The top of their hit list is Roe v. Wade, the case that legalizes abortion. Shortly there after in the batting order is Affirmation Action, expanding police action, the Voting Rights Act, the separation of church and state, the juvenile death penalty, the Patriot Act and so on and so on.

The Right Wing went to extraordinary measures to ensure the election and reelection of a president who would nominate justices to start working on that hit list and dismantle the recent work of the court. The conservatives thought they were well on their way when Justice O'Connor retired. The Right just know that the president would nominate a solid conservative (especially after the John Roberts confirmation) to start the dismantling of current case law.

But they were shocked on Monday when the President nominate Ms. Miers. A capable attorney with no judicial experience and therefore no paper trial. No way to tell what type of justice she would be on the court. How would she handle the issues so important to the Right? That uncertainty and mystery has the Right in total panic. Despite repeated and now consistent reassurances from the President,conservative from Senators like Trent Lott (R-MS) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) to conservative writers and commentators like Ann Coulter and George Will there is a great deal of unease about the president's appointment. Incompetent, inexperienced and unqualified are now words swirling around the White House with indictment, racism and croynism.

But how disappointed are conservatives? Are they just talking noise because the appointment wasn't a seasoned judicial conservative to actively move their legal agenda forward, or are they so disappointed that they will openly try to force the president to withdraw the appointment (or force Ms. Miers to "withdraw" from consideration) or will they actually not confirm her and force the president to give them what and whom they want.

If ever there was a time to force a president's hand, even a president of your own party and beliefs, it may be now. He is a weakened president, with seemingly no domestic agenda (what happened to Social Security Reform?), mired in a quagmire in Iraq, facing rising gas and soon heating prices, reeling from a slow and thus deadly response to a natural catastrophe, facing the possible indictment of his alter ego and political architect, critical midterm elections basically a year away and term limited George W. Bush may not have the political capital to save his friend and former personal attorney.

But even in that weakened state do the conservatives have the nerve to throw Ms. Miers, and the President with her, under the bus in their quest to control the United States Supreme Court for a generation? Their near four decade journey to control all three branches of government is near completion. Will they push Ms. Miers off the proverbial political cliff for ratification of the conservative agenda? Or will they cross their fingers, close their eyes and hope for the best? Time will tell and within the next six weeks we'll find out.