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Bush Nominates Totally Random Person for Court

    The president carefully and deliberately selected as his nominee for the vacant Supreme Court position the first person he ran into in the hallway this morning. He has been up front about this technique all along, what he called "the dartboard approach." It could have been anyone -- an usher, a steward, a dog-walker, the guy carrying the nuclear codes. Liberals will rejoice that it wasn't Rove. It turned out to be his former staff secretary, Harriet Miers, currently the White House Counsel. Her qualifications for the position are as follows:

   1. She's a lawyer.

   2. She's tight with Dubya.

   3. She works just a few feet from Bush and thus saved him from the hassle of a protracted search.

   4. She has never been a judge and thus has no record that might generate problems in a confirmation hearing.

   Presidents run into trouble when they start nominating for the Supreme Court someone who already has a professional record as a judge. The rule in Washington is: Anything you say can and will be used against you. The way to assure that your nominee will be confirmed is to make sure the nominee has no known beliefs, opinions, thoughts, notions, or anything else that might be criticized by Ted Kennedy and his Lefty hand-wringing friends.

    To judge from initial reports, Miers is 60, single, no kids, no known friends, no hobbies, no favorite color. There are parking meters in Washington that have a higher public profile than Ms. Miers. Had she not appeared on television today, many people would argue that she doesn't actually exist. Conspiracy theorists will find it mighty suspicious that the person who spent years handling all the paperwork passing onto the president's desk is now in a position to interpret what is and isn't a crime in this country. Extreme conservatives will be nervous, partly because being nervous is their chronic condition lately, and partly because they will fear that Ms. Miers may not be a truly zealous footsoldier in the conservative crusade. Liberals will denounce her and say she will destroy the fabric of the republic and bring on the new Dark Ages.

     But no doubt Ms. Miers will surprise us all in various ways. Prior to today, she was known primarily as the person who cleaned up the Texas Lottery for then-Gov. Bush. Looks like she just won a lottery herself.

[Click here to read the president's statement. Ms. Miers hosted a "Ask the White House" session last October, handling one softball question after another, and you can read it here. The Associated Press put out a prescient story Thursday that featured a photo of Miers and this interesting passage: "Miers is leading the White House effort to help Bush choose a nominee to the Supreme Court, so naming her would follow a move Bush made in 2000 when he tapped the man leading his search committee for a running mate -- Dick Cheney. 'Given the Cheney precedent and the president's well-known loyalty to his aides, it's certainly possible the president could turn to Harriet,' said Brad Berenson, a lawyer who formerly worked in the counsel's office of the Bush White House." And Wonkette tells us this morning that Miers has contributed to the political campaigns of Democrats! The Post's Michael Fletcher profiled Miers in June when she became White House Counsel. Slate's Tim Noah wrote a funny piece last November in which he speculated that Miers might fill the "work wife" void created by the departure from the West Wing of Condi Rice. From Webster's New World Collegiate Dictionary: cronyism n. "favoritism shown to close friends, esp. in political appointments to office."]

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 3, 2005; 8:56 AM ET
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