Editorial Roundup for Thursday — October 27, 2005

• Harriet Miers’ nomination


Harriet Miers’ nomination

The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel, Tuesday, Oct. 25

Following Monday’s Cabinet meeting, a reporter asked President Bush if the White House was working on a contingency plan for the withdrawal of Harriet Miers’ nomination.

A number of influential conservatives wish the president would do that to avoid a fight over a Supreme Court nominee they consider unqualified. The fight could leave Bush’s base shaken and divided.

Bush did not answer the reporter’s question, choosing instead to address the issue of a request by Specter’s committee for legal opinions and memos drafted by Miers as White House counsel.

Responding to that request, said Bush, “would make it impossible for me and other presidents to be able to make sound decisions. They may ask for paperwork about the decision-making process, what her recommendations were, and that would breach very important confidentiality. And it’s a red line I’m not willing to cross.”

It is a dilemma for Bush. He is a true believer that certain White House communications must be privileged to protect the president’s ability to get candid advice from his aides.

On the other hand, the senators have a point, too. They have very little to go on from her pre-White House legal career to judge her fitness for the high court.

Surely someone in the vetting process must have anticipated this problem. It’s why appointing your personal attorney and White House aide to the Supreme Court is not a great idea.

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