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Analysis: Some Initial Thoughts

I really need to get down to the Court to argue but wanted to note my sense that the President’s nomination creates a very interesting political dynamic – one that places the nomination in peril. The nomination obviously will be vigorously supported by groups created for the purpose of pressing the President’s nominees, and vigorously opposed by groups on the other side. But within the conservative wing of the Republican party, there is thus far (very early in the process) only great disappointment, not enthusiasm. They would prefer Miers to be rejected in the hope – misguided, I think – that the President would then nominate, for example, Janice Rogers Brown. Moderate Republicans have no substantial incentive to support Miers, and the President seems to have somewhat less capital to invest here. On the Democratic side, there will be inevitable – perhaps knee-jerk – opposition. Nor does Miers have a built in “fan base” of people in Washington, in contrast to the people (Democratic and Republican) who knew and respected John Roberts. Even if Democrats aren’t truly gravely concerned, they will see this as an opportunity to damage the President. The themes of the opposition will be cronyism and inexperience. Democratic questioning at the hearings will be an onslaught of questions about federal constitutional law that Miers in all likelihood won’t want to, or won’t be able to (because her jobs haven’t called on her to study the issues), answer. I have no view on whether she should be confirmed (it’s simply too early to say), but will go out on a limb and predict that she will be rejected by the Senate. In my view, Justice O’Connor will still be sitting on the Court on January 1, 2006.