Can she be confirmed?

With neither a "built-in fan base" nor a court-ready r

Published October 3, 2005 2:53PM (EDT)

SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein will do something today for the 15th time that Harriet Miers has never done at all: He'll argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. That ought to be a good day's work for anyone, but Goldstein stopped for a moment on his way to court to record his initial thoughts on the Miers nomination.

His preliminary take: She won't be confirmed.

That's a bold prediction -- tentative as it may be -- at a time when Republicans hold 55 seats in the U.S. Senate. But Goldstein says that Miers lacks the "built-in" Washington "fan base" that John G. Roberts enjoyed and that conservatives aren't likely to rally to her cause. They would prefer, he says, to see her rejected and have an angry Bush nominate someone like Janice Rogers Brown as a replacement. From the other side of the aisle, Goldstein predicts that Democrats will pound away at themes of "cronyism and inexperience" -- Hurricane Katrina teed those up nicely for the left -- and will turn the coming confirmation hearings into "an onslaught of questions about federal constitutional law that Miers in all likelihood won't want to, or won't be able to, ... answer."

Goldstein says he isn't expressing an opinion on whether Miers should be confirmed, just on whether she will be. Another member of the Washington legal punditry isn't so restrained. Appearing on NBC's "Today Show" this morning, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley called Miers "an amazingly bad choice" for the court.

"No one would put Harriet Miers on the list for the Supreme Court," Turley said. "She just doesnt have the résumé for it. I dont mean to be cruel, but this is a time where we have to be frank ... Being the head of the Texas lottery or in the Dallas City Council are not the type of credentials that you look for."

As SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston notes, Miers' not-quite-star-quality résumé may make the American Bar Association's view of her particularly important. Denniston says that anything less than a "well qualified" rating from the ABA could doom Miers' nomination if it "gets into trouble on any other ground."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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