Apropos the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, this passage from Hamilton in Federalist No. 76 is worth noting:
To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.
It will readily be comprehended, that a man who had himself the sole disposition of offices, would be governed much more by his private inclinations and interests, than when he was bound to submit the propriety of his choice to the discussion and determination of a different and independent body, and that body an entier branch of the legislature. The possibility of rejection would be a strong motive to care in proposing. The danger to his own reputation, and, in the case of an elective magistrate, to his political existence, from betraying a spirit of favoritism, or an unbecoming pursuit of popularity, to the observation of a body whose opinion would have great weight in forming that of the public, could not fail to operate as a barrier to the one and to the other. He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.
Of course, Hamilton was speaking of a hypothethical chief executive who would be capable of feeling shame or fear, instead of the cloistered sociopath that is currently running amok in the White House.
And regarding the nomination itself, my initial thought is that the White House learned an important lesson from the Roberts confirmation–if you nominate someone with experience in the executive branch, you can hide that person’s work from the public by invoking “executive privilege” (which doesn’t exist under a “strict constructionist” reading of the Constitution.) The Democrats chose not to press this issue too hard during the Roberts hearing, specifically with regard to his work as a deputy solicitor general, but with Miers, document disclosure could become the central issue.