Now that Harriet Miers has officially withdrawn from her nomination to SCOTUS, Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds predicts that Theodore Olson will probably be the next nominee.
I only just read the guy's biography and I have to say that the guy is far more qualified than Miers ever was, and is likely to win over the conservative vote. The left won't like him for certain reasons too, which will become obvious as you keep reading.
Olson worked as the US Solicitor General from 2001-2004. According to the wikipedia article, the Solicitor general is tasked with arguing for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. So the guy has experience in arguing in front of SCOTUS. This is good - it means he has some idea of constitutional law.
Olson also worked in the Reagan administration as an Assistant Attorney General. This means the guy has experience going back to the 1980s in working with government.
What will give Olson the sympathy vote is that his wife, Barbara Olson, was a passenger on American Airlines flight 77 when it was hijacked by terrorists on 9/11 and flown into the Pentagon. That Olson's wife was a victim of the 9/11 attacks will give Olson an "edge". Although I may sound cynical at this point, I am trying to be fairly realistic: the fact that he is a 9/11 widower will make some people warm to him more.
Like Miers, however, Olson has no experience working as a judge. Opponents of any Olson nomination will bring this up, but there have been several non-judges who were appointed to SCOTUS in the past and were successful. The fact that Olson has so much experience working for both Reagan and Bush in the area of constitutional law may compensate for this oversight.
What will really annoy his opponents is that Olson was instrumental in the Bush v. Gore case which contested the 2000 presidential election. Many lefties were stunned by the decision of SCOTUS in stopping the Florida recount, and see it as a grave injustice. Olson represented Bush in this Federal case.
Another concern is whether Olson is yet another Bush "crony" who is being rewarded for his support. That is certainly an issue, but Olson's experience seems to indicate that, crony or not, he actually does appear qualified and competent. (Notice I said appear...)
Lefties may also get annoyed that Olson is not female. At this stage in his life, Oslon could get a sex-change operation - a process that will naturally endear him to the left but will probably give Dubya pause for thought (if he actually thinks that is). He's also an ugly looking fellow, totally unlike myself, and may find it difficult to appeal to the vacuous and simple.
My "vibe" is that if Olson is nominated then he will probably succeed. His conservative credentials appear to be fairly respectable, since he has actually worked hard to defend them in the past. Any concerns about whether he will "do a Souter" and actually be a secret liberal need to be balanced with his active conservative stance. It's not that Olson has said things that were conservative in the past, he has actually fought for them. Conversely, apart from his lack of judicial experience, lefty opponents have little to work on apart from the usual stuff.
Two things, however, need to be considered. The first is Olson's "paper trail" which should give a better idea of his stance. You never know where this may end up. The second is whether Bush will last long enough as President to actually nominate the guy. As you know I'm someone who actually thinks that the Plame affair may result in Bush being removed from office. Lefties may oppose the nomination simply because the nominator himself could not be trusted...
From the One Salient Overlord Department
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
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