October 13, 2005

A NEW MIERS POLL (free link) in the Wall Street Journal:

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Americans are reserving judgment on Ms. Miers, the White House counsel, who last week became Mr. Bush’s choice to succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is retiring. Some 27% support her confirmation and 21% oppose it, while 51% say they don’t know enough to say.

Such reluctance extends to Mr. Bush’s political base, as 46% of Republicans say they don’t know enough to have an opinion. The results explain why administration officials yesterday continued their campaign to regain the initiative on the nomination from conservative critics who have complained that she lacks a clear judicial philosophy and credentials. . . .

The effort marks a dramatic contrast from the tenor of the campaign for Chief Justice Roberts, who was elevated from the federal appeals court amid widespread praise for his experience and acumen in constitutional law. In July, President Bush nominated Mr. Roberts for Justice O’Connor’s seat on the court; in September, he named him to succeed the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. On the eve of the Roberts confirmation hearings last month, supporters outnumbered opponents by 38%-20%.

Part of the difference appears to stem from concerns about how and why Mr. Bush selected Ms. Miers. While the poll shows respondents applauding her background as the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association, they question the fact that she hasn’t served as a judge or made her positions on legal issues known.

By 40%-24%, Americans say her long service to the president makes them feel less positive about her potential court service. First Lady Laura Bush suggested this week it’s “possible” that sexism has played a role in the Miers controversy, but the survey shows men and women hold similar attitudes toward her nomination.

I can’t link to it because of TimesSelect, but David Brooks’ column on Miers today is quite negative.

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