Miers "most qualified"? Even Trent Lott says no

Lott says he's "not comfortable" with Bush's Supreme Court nominee.

Published October 5, 2005 7:30PM (EDT)

We scoffed when George W. Bush claimed yesterday that Harriet Miers is the most qualified person he could find for a job on the Supreme Court.

We weren't alone.

Sen. Trent Lott -- he's a Republican, remember? -- said today that Miers is "clearly" not the most qualified person for the job. In an interview with MSNBC, Lott said that there are "a lot more people -- men, women and minorities -- that are more qualified, in my opinion, by their experience than she is."

Although Republicans in the Senate have cast only a handful of votes against Bush's judicial nominees over the last five years, Lott insisted that he won't take a rubber-stamp approach with the Miers nomination. "I don't just automatically salute or take a deep bow anytime a nominee is sent up," he said. "I have to find out who these people are, and right now, I'm not satisfied with what I know. I'm not comfortable with the nomination, so we'll just have to work through the process in due time."

Lott's uneasiness is similar to concerns expressed yesterday by Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who said that the president's promises about Miers' "heart" aren't enough to assure him that she's sufficiently conservative on social issues. More moderate Republicans in the Senate will share their views on the nominee, at least in private, later today: The Gang of 14 that averted the nuclear option earlier this year will gather again to discuss the Miers nomination.

By Tim Grieve

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

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