A matter of process

NRO’s Corner has linked to my Daily Standard piece in support of supporting the Miers nomination. Ramesh Ponnuru adds a thoughtful response.
Addressing my argument that a standard under which conservatives reject Miers because she may not be a conservative is a standard under which non-conservatives could reject nominees known or suspected to be conservative, Ponnuru notes that some Senators are already voting against nominees for that reason. That certainly is true, thanks to the liberal Democrats. But non-conservative Republicans aren’t doing so, at least not a critical mass of them. This is why the president was finally able to push Judges Prior, Owen, and Brown onto the bench, why Chief Justice Roberts’ confirmation was never in doubt, and why the nuclear option remains (perhaps) in play. We have a fairly formidable (if less than rock-solid) coalition of moderate and conservative Republicans that will back conservative nominees. That’s one of the reason why many conservatives are disappointed that Bush didn’t nominate a well-established conservative.
Accordingly, conservatives need to think very carefully before they cast a vote against Miers that might well “blow up” the process. The process is not in great shape, but it’s still intact. If we’re going to be the ones to finally sink it, I’d rather that we do so for a liberal nominee in a case where, with luck, we’re allied with moderates, not for a moderate to conservative nominee where our allies may be Senators Biden and Kennedy.

Responses