- The Washington Times - Monday, October 31, 2005

President Bush is expected to name a reliably conservative Supreme Court justice nominee as early as today, said senators on both sides of the aisle.

The failed nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor “put a cloud over things,” said Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican.

Miss Miers withdrew her nomination Thursday.

“I’m convinced within a very short time, the president is going to come forward with a very strong nominee,” Mr. Lott said yesterday on “Fox News Sunday.” “There are a lot of them out there that would be really strong, and in a few days, the focus will be on that new nominee and, you know, we’ll be moving forward.”

Yesterday, there was widespread speculation that Mr. Bush might name a new nominee soon after he returned from a weekend at Camp David, where he mulled the list of potential candidates from which he has picked twice in six months.

Most speculation by conservatives and journalists around the White House has focused on federal appeals court Judges Samuel A. Alito Jr., J. Michael Luttig and Michael W. McConnell.

With the demise of the Miers nomination, there is less political pressure for Mr. Bush to pick a woman, but there are still some under consideration, including federal appellate Judges Alice M. Batchelder and Karen Williams, and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan.

Two conservative favorites are federal appeals court Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla R. Owen. Both were filibustered by Democrats in the Senate after they were nominated to their current positions.

Whomever Mr. Bush nominates is expected to be a solid conservative with a clearly defined judicial philosophy, unlike Miss Miers.

“Unfortunately, we’re at a time in our nation’s history where you have to have a demonstrated track record of a particular judicial philosophy,” said Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who supported Miss Miers and is viewed as a potential nominee to the high court. “People won’t take your word for it even if you’re the president of the United States that someone like Harriet Miers had that judicial philosophy.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, however, warned Mr. Bush to avoid picking a nominee outside of the “mainstream” to satisfy conservatives.

“I think the American people can see through this so clearly,” he said yesterday on ABC’s “This Week.” “The president should come forward with some middle-of-the-road person, somebody that is going to be a good Supreme Court justice, not somebody that’s going to be writing the law from the bench.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, said yesterday that he’s reviewed the White House’s latest list of prospective nominees but didn’t mention any names.

He said he thought it was unfair that Miss Miers’ nomination was withdrawn.

“Instead of following the Constitution, which says the Senate decides the issue, and you have hearings before the Judiciary Committee, Ms. Miers was tried in press conferences, in news releases, on radio and TV talk shows, and she never got a hearing,” he said yesterday on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “I think it was very regrettable that that happened. And I was very disappointed that her name was withdrawn.”

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