Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.
President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.
'It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel,' Bush said. 'Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.'
I was always ambivalent about the Miers nomination, although I think that the tone of the debate about her was poorly structured and I am not sure that the 'qualifications' that have been touted as necessary for a Supreme Court Justice are a good precident.
From a political perspective, the timing of the withdrawal seems very smart to me. Most weeks this would end up being the 'big news' and be the focus of the weekend news shows and sunday papers. With Fitzgerald's investigation ending this week, the news will be all about indictments or the lack thereof. Either Bush gets all of the bad news out of the way at once, or the lack of indictments overshadows any weakness that might be percieved from the nomination.
I wonder though how happy anyone will be about Bush's next nomination though. My bet is it will be Gonzales, even though he is also heavily disliked by the 'base.'