By Fred Barbash
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 27, 2005; 11:27 AM
Harriet Miers withdrew this morning as a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
In announcing the decision, Miers and President Bush cited their concern with the requests of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for documents dealing with her work as White House counsel that the administration has chosen to withhold as privileged.
But the nomination of Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was already in deep trouble, with little support in the Senate, open criticism from many senators of both parties and an outpouring of opposition from conservative activists and intellectuals.
Some of them, most notably columnist Charles Krauthammer, had proposed using the documents dispute as a face-saving reason for withdrawal. In fact, negotiations over the documents had barely begun when the withdrawal was announced this morning.
The decision marked the end of one of the most contentious Supreme Court nominations in recent years, following on controversies over the naming of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork. Thomas was approved by the Senate in 1991 after a bitter confirmation hearing and Bork was defeated in 1987. A major political difference between the Bork and Miers nominations is that Bork was championed by a powerful wing of the GOP, while Miers appeared to have only one truly enthusiastic supporter, the president. (more…)