Thursday, November 03, 2005
It's little wonder she didn't bother answering anything seriously. The Administration played the game so well, the nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. has been met with far less opposition than had he been nominated from the outset.
Of course I'm not the only one thinking along these lines. The ultra-conservative columnist, Charles Krauthammer, in a column, Saving Face, on October 21, 2005 suggested exactly such an exit strategy. My only question, is whether such a strategy wasn't Plan A from Day One, but kept under wraps to allow conservatives to throw the predictable hissy fits they did. In fact if I wasn’t such a trusting individual, I would viciously suspect that Charles Krauthammer, like Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher, was actually paid by the White House to opine in such an editorial so that no one would suspect the conservative drama wasn’t planned from the very beginning.
For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no previous record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information -- ``policy documents'' and ``legal analysis'' -- from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.
Which creates a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives: The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.
Hence the perfectly honorable way to solve the conundrum: Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives, the Senate expresses appreciation for this gracious acknowledgment of its needs and responsibilities, and the White House accepts her decision with the deepest regret and with gratitude for Miers' putting preservation of executive prerogative above personal ambition.
In the meantime, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has prepared a document that reflects the nominee’s First Amendment record, and despite the many troubling aspects of this nominee, his First Amendment decisions are not as horrific as expected.