Miers' numbers head south.

The chances of confirmation.
Oct. 25 2005 4:47 PM

The Right Ramps Up

And Miers' numbers head south.

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Today's Chance of Confirmation: 70 percent

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Only bad news today for Harriet Miers. Conservative groups that had once anticipated backing President Bush's Supreme Court nominees are instead using their funds to slam her. They've launched Web sites and planned TV and radio ads. This is the first major effort to take the plot to torpedo Miers beyond pundits and court watchers.

Meanwhile, President Bush refused a bipartisan request from senators to release documents that would have shed light on Miers' work in the White House. The senators who called on the president to hand over the papers included Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a strong pro-life supporter who has thus far withheld backing for Miers. Bush's refusal could set up Charles Krauthammer's exit strategy. In a Washington Post column last Friday, Krauthammer urged the president to manufacture a collision over the documents. Bush would refuse the Senate request, citing confidentiality with his lawyer. The senators would then refuse to proceed, citing a lack of material to evaluate the little-known candidate. At loggerheads, Bush and Miers would withdraw her nomination on principle and save face. The White House is unlikely to go for the charade, though. Next step: Miers has to finish her Senate questionnaire. Her rewrite is due tomorrow. She missed her last deadline by a day. Want to bet she doesn't miss this one?

Emily Bazelon is a Slate senior editor and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate. Follow her on Twitter.