Confirm Them is doing a three-part Q&A with Jan Crawford Greenburg about her new book Supreme Conflict, which I reviewed here. The first part of the interview is up, and can be read here. Here’s a taste:
1. Given the current political climate, who do you think President Bush will nominate to the Court if a third SCOTUS retirement occurs during his presidency?
Answer: Janice Rogers Brown or Maureen Mahoney. Now I know you’re asking how in the world I could possibly mention those two very different contenders in one breath, right? Ok, here’s why: It all depends on which justice leaves and when. President Bush will tap a solid judicial conservative (i.e., Brown) if he gets a nomination this year. He wants to change the subject, and this is about the only issue he’s got left to rally the base. (If you guys can think of another issue that will keep conservatives together with Bush, let me know.) Judge Brown would be an exciting nominee: She’s getting very high marks from colleagues on the D.C. Circuit, and her experience, compelling life story and demeanor (she’s fast on her feet and would be a terrific witness) would present those moderate southern Democrats (there are still a few of them) with a very difficult choice.
There’s much more to the answer, so be sure to read it all.
My interest was also piqued by her discussion of the blogs. In my review I noted that, according to Greenburg, Miers had recognized that the blogs would be important. Confirm Them picked up on that as well, and asked Greenburg about it:
As I reported in the book, Harriet Miers herself recognized what a key role blogs would play in a Supreme Court fight. (When Miers said the blogs would be important, Confirm Them and Bench Memos were two of the key ones she had in mind.) And of course those blogs—and other conservative legal blogs like Patterico—didn’t exactly embrace her nomination.
A commenter recently accused Miers opponents like me of helping us to lose the war — no hyperbole there! — because of the hit Bush took over the Miers nomination. I argued in response that we Miers opponents had merely stanched the bleeding of an unnecessary self-inflicted wound. Greenburg makes it clear that she agrees with that view:
Democrats ultimately would have opposed Miers in her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. In that hearing, Miers would have been a proxy for Bush. The worse she looked, the worse Bush would look. The more she seemed like a crony and a hack, the more Bush would look like an incompetent. Her confirmation hearing would have been brutal. Democrats would have eviscerated her. And Bush knew that. But the opposition to her was so entrenched, I’m not so sure conservatives would have come around, as Bush believed.
I also think it’s a mistake [to] underestimate how the conservative opposition to Miers affected the course of events—even if Bush insists that’s not why he concluded she needed to pack it in. By laying bare her lack of qualifications and detailing how Bush had gotten it so wrong, the blogs helped marshal conservative outrage, which was evident among staffers and senators on the Hill.
Good stuff. Keep your eye on Confirm Them for future installments.