Why are Bush conservatives up in arms over Harriet Mier's nomination?

At first glance the nomination of Harriet Mier to fill vacant seat on the Supreme Court would seem to fulfill conservative's dream of tilting court further to the right. Her faith-based attachment to Bush and his agenda would seem to signal that Bush's views would be articulated on the court since Ms. Mier seems to share Bush's conservatism. Yet a growing chorus of conservatives are expressing worry about Harriet E. Miers's conservatism and legal credentials.

The Washington Post revealed that the conservative uprising against President Bush escalated yesterday as Republican activists angry over his nomination of White House counsel Harriet Mier to the Supreme Court confronted the president's envoys during a pair of tense closed-door meetings. What exactly has got the right-wing so upset? According to the Post:

A day after Bush publicly beseeched skeptical supporters to trust his judgment on Miers, a succession of prominent conservative leaders told his representatives that they did not. Over the course of several hours of sometimes testy exchanges, the dissenters complained that Miers was an unknown quantity with a thin résumé and that her selection -- Bush called her "the best person I could find" -- was a betrayal of years of struggle to move the court to the right.

The tenor of the two meetings suggested that Bush has yet to rally his own party behind Miers and underscores that he risks the biggest rupture with the Republican base of his presidency. While conservatives at times have assailed some Bush policy decisions, rarely have they been so openly distrustful of the president himself.

Leaders of such groups as Paul M. Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation and the Eagle Forum yesterday declared they could not support Miers at this point, while columnist George Will decried the choice as a diversity pick without any evidence that Miers has the expertise and intellectual firepower necessary for the high court.

The persistent criticism has put the White House on the defensive ever since Bush announced Monday his decision to nominate Miers to succeed the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor. While Miers has a long career as a commercial lawyer, Texas political figure and personal attorney to Bush before joining him at the White House, she has never been a judge or dealt extensively with the sorts of constitutional issues that occupy the Supreme Court.

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