This article adds an important perspective on the role of Miers’s evangelicalism in her nomination, an issue I’ve raised here and here, that Ken Masugi has addressed here, here, and here, and that has been aired in these posts at Southern Appeal. Here’s the money quote:
"I don’t think it’s fair to call us sexist or elitist just because we ask the question, ’Why did he choose her instead of so many better-qualified candidates?’ " said Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals.
"In the president’s view, he has chosen the best person he can find -- in the [Justice Antonin] Scalia and [Justice Clarence] Thomas tradition. But that remains to be seen," Mr. Cizik said. "I’m like a lot of other evangelicals -- eager to be persuaded. The Senate confirmation hearings are when we will make that judgment. Those hearings will be very critical for this nominee, I think."
If the White House was playing some sort of identity politics with this nomination, it hasn’t yet succeeded. This is good news, for it indicates a certain political maturity among evangelicals. As I have contended
before, the evangelical leadership is aware of the distinction between judging and policy-making, and hence of the differences between the qualifications for one and for the other. However gratified they might be to have an evangelical on the Court, they’re not about to support someone who hasn’t fully demonstrated her fitness just because of her religious affiliation.