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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2005
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EDITORIAL

President Bush’s cronyism gets him in trouble — again

President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court is in trouble.

By selecting a candidate with no judicial experience, one who has virtually no paper trail to indicate how she might view the Constitution or rule on important questions of jurisprudence, Bush has alienated some of his strongest supporters.

Conservative columnists — many of whom have been unwavering Bush apologists for the past five years — and Republican senators have expressed misgivings about Miers' qualifications, the primary of which seems to be that she is a friend of Mr. Bush. That was also the primary qualification of former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown, who had served as a commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association before Mr. Bush tapped him as FEMA chief.

Conservative legal scholar Robert Bork has called Miers' selection "a disaster on every level" and "a slap in the face" to the conservative legal movement.

Initially, Mr. Bush supported Ms. Miers' nomination with a wink and a nod to evangelical Christians. He touted her deep religious convictions and urged his supporters to trust his judgment. This came less than a month after the White House labeled as a bigot anyone who brought up religion when discussing John Roberts' nomination for chief justice.

Mr. Bush's top advisor, Karl Rove, made "outreach" calls to Christian political activists Pat Robertson and Dr. James Dobson to garner their support.

But that strategy apparently backfired when Dr. Dobson offered Ms. Miers a tentative endorsement based on "some of the things I know — that I probably shouldn't know." Now, Dr. Dobson has publicly prayed to God not to let him make a mistake by endorsing her.

A Supreme Court nomination is arguably the most important and lasting decision a president can make. Mr. Bush has apparently made this one based on cronyism and his supporters' seeming obsession with overturning Roe vs. Wade.

That is too bad for Ms. Miers, about whom we still know too little to determine if she would, in fact, make a decent justice. Perhaps Mr. Bush should withdraw her nomination now and appoint her to the federal bench, where she can establish a track record.

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