Miers, TalkLeft, and the Death Penalty:
Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft knows Harriet Miers, and is making the case that political liberals should be optimistic about the Miers nomination and "give Harriet a chance." An excerpt:
  Most of those I've spoken with believe she will be okay or better as a Supreme Court Justice. While she may be more conservative than many of us, all thought she would be fair. . . . . There has been a lot of praise for her pro-bono efforts while President of the Texas bar.
  The main thing to keep in mind are the alternatives. From a legal standpoint, we lucked out with both Roberts and Harriet Miers. If she were to withdraw and Bush were then to repay the radical right what they think he owes them, we will be far worse off. We didn't get Wilkerson or Luttig from the 4th Circuit, Rogers Brown, Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen or Alberto Gonzales. But we may, if Harriet is not confirmed.
  I think that political calculation is probably right. Indeed, if Hugh Hewitt is correct that Miers will be another Potter Stewart, Miers may end up giving a fifth vote to Breyer, Ginsburg, Stevens, and Souter on a number of important issues that used to split 5-4 in a conservative direction.

  One likely area is capital punishment. The Justices of the Rehnquist Court were deeply divided on the death penalty. To oversimply things a bit, Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Stevens have been eager to restrict it considerably; Kennedy and O'Connor have wanted to keep it basically intact but tinker a bit around the edges; and Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist wanted to keep it "as is." If confirmed, Miers may provide a real opportunity for death penalty opponents: In one of the very rare statements Miers has made that is relevant to the work of the Supreme Court, she expressed the view that the death penalty in Texas needs to be overhauled to provide better representation for indigent defendants. (Describing reforms of the death penalty in Texas in 1993, Miers stated that "we're using a Band-Aid approach when the system needs an overhaul.") It's hard to know with any certainty how this might shape her views about the Constitution. To the extent that Miers will be influenced by her years in practice, however, it seems reasonable to expect that she'll be a fifth vote to accelerate the restrictions the Supreme Court has imposed on capital punishment.

  Thanks to the Corner for the link.