Miers, White House Surrender to Ultraconservatives

Right Wing Power Politics Overwhelm President’s Supreme Court Pick

Harriet Miers’ withdrawal from her Supreme Court nomination demonstrates that ultraconservatives are so determined to swing the Supreme Court sharply to the right that they pounded their own president into submission, and now demand a nominee with unquestioned far-right credentials, said Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way.

“It’s an astonishing spectacle. The unelected power-brokers of the far right have forced the withdrawal of President Bush’s own Supreme Court nominee, before a confirmation hearing has even been held. President Bush’s complete capitulation to the far-right interest groups is astounding. The ultra-right wing dominance of Republican Party politics is total, and they have dealt a terrible blow to an already weakened President and his administration,” said Neas. “Right-wingers are openly saying they elected Bush to put a battle-ready ultraconservative on the court to replace the moderate Sandra Day O’Connor, and they’re demanding a new choice – bipartisanship, moderation and mainstream Americans be damned.”

Neas said that while his group had initial concerns about Miers’ qualifications, he was willing to wait for document disclosure and the confirmation hearings to assess the nomination. Meanwhile, the drumbeat against Miers from special interest groups on the right grew in coordination and intensity, dooming the nomination.

Neas urged Bush to resist calls for an ultraconservative nominee.

“After this sorry episode, the best way for the President to demonstrate leadership and recover strength would be to choose a nominee with a great legal mind and mainstream legal philosophy who could draw bipartisan support. The President must not let the extreme right dictate his next choice, but instead choose a nominee who can bring us together and maintain a fair and independent balance on the Supreme Court,” he said.

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