Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court Thursday in the face of overwhelming opposition from both conservatives and liberals. President Bush, who nominated his White House counsel and former personal attorney in September, said he "reluctantly'' accepted Miers' decision. With Miers out of the picture, Bush is back to square one in looking for a nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Almost from the moment Bush nominated the former president of the Dallas Bar Association, opposition built. Liberal groups voiced concern about Miers' views on abortion. Bush's allies on the right also expressed displeasure with Miers because she lacked judicial experience and was viewed as less reliably conservative than several other potential candidates. In recent weeks, opponents from both the left and right have criticized her lack of legal scholarship and unwillingness to reveal thoughts on constitutional issues. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Spector, a Pennsylvania Republican, asked Meirs to redo her judicial questionnaire because the answers she provided were incomplete. The revised questionnaire was supposed to be submitted to the Senate committee today. The Miers withdrawal comes during a particularly rough week of the Bush administration. Earlier this week, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq surpassed 2,000 and prompted new calls for the administration to reassess its war policy. Also, the White House is on pins and needles as a federal grand jury decides whether to indict any top administration aides in the so-called CIA leak case. Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor overseeing the investigation, is expected to announce by tomorrow whether any indictments will be forthcoming.
The grand jury, which is looking into allegations that administration officials leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent to the news media, is set to wrap up its work on Friday. The grand jury has been looking into the allegations for more than two years. The investigation stems from an apparent White House attempt to discredit Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was an undercover CIA agent, whose identity was allegedly revealed by administration officials.