In the political world as elsewhere, a faithful staffer often doesn’t get the credit he deserves for helping his principal make good decisions, and often gets more than his proper share of blame for bad decisions. That occupational downside is especially present on the highly confidential matters that the White House handles, where it will generally be unclear to the public who played what role.
How should we assess the legacy of outgoing White House counsel Harriet Miers? I am very reliably informed by someone in the know who has no vested interest in enhancing Miers’s reputation that she provided a very important voice in support of the President’s decisions to nominate both John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Whatever criticisms may fairly be leveled at her own nomination (criticisms that should be directed primarily against persons other than Miers) and whatever other criticisms folks may have, Harriet Miers helped delivered two major triumphs of enduring value. That is a legacy that anyone should be proud of, and Miers deserves our deep and lasting gratitude.