Miers Gets Criticisms Rare for Nominees to CourtBreaking News
Harriet E. Miers, President Bush's nominee to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, brings a similar résumé, along with five years in the White House and one year as its counsel. But in just three weeks, her nomination has provoked a range of opposition that some scholars say may have no modern precedent.
"I would be very hard pressed to think of a good historical analogy," Richard Baker, the Senate historian, said. "I don't think there is one."
Though past nominees have faced swift opposition, what makes Ms. Miers's nomination extraordinary, historians say, is the combination of doubts about her philosophy from within the president's own party and attacks on her legal qualifications from both sides of the aisle.
"Harriet Miers is in a real danger zone," said Lee Epstein, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis who uses statistical models to study public perceptions of past Supreme Court nominees. "Our models right now are showing that she would get confirmed, but I would be worried if I was the president," she said. The early calls for withdrawal, the "intraparty attacks" and the questions about her qualifications, Ms. Epstein said, are what make Ms. Miers's nomination "reasonably unique."
Ms. Miers is not the first nominee to confront ideological opposition from within her own party. Republicans objected so much to President Ulysses S. Grant's 1874 nomination of Caleb Cushing, a former attorney general and a respected lawyer, that it was withdrawn after four days, said Professor Richard D. Friedman of the University of Michigan Law School. Republicans also complained about President Herbert Hoover's 1932 nomination of the eminent jurist Benjamin Cardozo. Others choices for the court - President Franklin Roosevelt's 1937 nomination of Justice Hugo Black, a former senator who never finished high school, or Mr. Nixon's 1970 nomination of G. Harrold Carswell - have faced doubts about their qualifications.
But several historians said that they could not think of a nominee who had drawn so much criticism from both parties so quickly."I have to sympathize with this woman," said Sheldon Goldman of the University of Massachusetts, noting the similarity with Justice Powell's résumé.
"The difference in treatment that she has received has been absolutely stunning," Mr. Goldman said.
comments powered by Disqus
- Brexit will ultimately destabilise Europe, historians fear
- The Justinianic Plague's Devastating Impact Was Likely Exaggerated
- 'Human, vulnerable and perfect': New Rosa Parks exhibit shines light on civil rights legend
- How Charlottesville’s Echoes Forced New Zealand to Confront Its History
- Mary Thompson Featured in Article on George Washington's Dog Breeding
- China Releases History Professor, But Travel Concerns Persist
- Gordon Wood Interviewed on the New York Times’ 1619 Project
- Books by Garret Martin, Balazs Martonffy, Ronald Suny, and Kelly McFarland Featured in Article on NATO at 50
- The secret history of women in America, told through their belongings
- Irish Archive Recreates Documents Lost in in 1922 fire