My comment on Harriet Miers' Confirmation

Forbes Magazine has a somewhat edited version of this piece:

Harriet Miers was one of the safest choices President Bush could've made for Supreme Court justice. She's likely to be confirmed quickly, and without much fuss. I'm not referring here to her politics. According to a study of judicial nominations I recently completed, the less distinguished the nominee-the less intellectually accomplished, the less prolific, the less impressive her record-the more likely it is that she will be confirmed. It also helps to be old, white and female.

Both Republicans and Democrats like to carp about the trouble their nominees must endure in the congressional confirmation process. I wondered how much the process had deteriorated, and why. So I assembled data on the 1,576 federal judges confirmed from the beginning of Jimmy Carter's administration in 1977 through the end of George W. Bush's first term. I also looked at 59 Supreme Court confirmations going back a century. To account for changing factors like whether the same party controlled the White House and the Senate, and whether the nomination was made in an election year, I used regression analysis when I compiled my findings.

It is indeed taking longer to get judges confirmed these days, but more interesting is which nominees sail through without a hitch, and which stop dead. My conclusion: The smarter the candidate, the more bruising the confirmation battle and the more likely the nominee will be defeated. . . .