160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Washington — President Bush, bloodied and bowed by the Republican Party’s conservative base, withdrew the nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court on Thursday. The White House offered no timetable for announcing a new nominee, and several senators said they doubted that a new justice could be confirmed before the Christmas holidays. Retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whom Miers was supposed to replace, has promised to stay on the court until the White House and the Republican-controlled Senate settle on a replacement. Miers will remain the president’s counsel. She called Bush at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and told him she wished to withdraw from consideration for the court, shortly after the White House received an unenthusiastic report on her prospects from the Senate’s Republican leaders. Several conservative senators, some with presidential ambitions of their own, joined in the criticism. The White House had tried to quash the grumbling, in part by citing Miers’ religious beliefs and membership in an evangelical Christian church. It also released a questionnaire she once filled out as a candidate for the Dallas City Council in which she declared her opposition to abortion. But these efforts weren’t good enough to satisfy right-wing interest groups, talk-show hosts and pundits who “wanted the president to pick a fight’ with liberals, said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who was working with the White House to shepherd the nomination through the Senate. “What some went so far as to suggest is: `We want somebody who we know will rule in a particular way.” Cornyn said that such demands were “unprincipled.’ He criticized a process that became “unnecessarily contentious and downright nasty’ and didn’t even give Miers a chance to defend herself at Senate hearings. James Dobson, founder of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, originally endorsed Miers after accepting assurances about her from top White House aides and others. But Dobson announced Thursday after Miers’ withdrawal that he had grown “increasingly concerned about her conservative credentials,’ and learned in dismay in recent days of a 1993 speech in which Miers “sounded pro-abortion themes, and expressed so much praise for left-wing feminist leaders.’ Said Dobson: “Based on what we now know about Miss Miers, it appears that we would not have been able to support her candidacy.’ Several other prominent conservatives also abandoned the nominee this week. Democrats and liberals struggled to contain their glee over the Republican fratricide, and taunted Bush for caving to conservative demands. “The radical right wing of the Republican Party drove this woman’s nomination right out of town,’ said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, an early supporter of Miers. “Apparently, Ms. Miers didn’t satisfy those who want to pack the Supreme Court with rigid ideologies.’ It was the latest setback in an ill- starred second term for Bush, who has seen his popularity plunge in the wake of the government’s tardy response to Hurricane Katrina, the series of political scandals that have wracked the Republican White House and Congress, and continued strife in Iraq. “It’s an astonishing spectacle,’ said Ralph Neas, president of the liberal group People for the American Way. “The ultra-right-wing dominance of Republican Party politics is complete, and they have dealt a terrible blow to an already weakened president.’ Bush’s first nomination to the Supreme Court of Chief Justice John Roberts was a tangible political success. Smart and polished, with a long record of service in Republican administrations, Roberts satisfied conservatives, and impressed many moderates and liberals as a suitable successor to the late, conservative chief justice, William Rehnquist. But replacing O’Connor, the first female justice and a key swing vote in many a 5-4 decision at the court, is a trickier task. It is now clear that conservative and liberal activists will oppose any nomination that doesn’t patently tilt the court in their own preferred direction. Bush now has a choice. He can give conservatives the ideological champion they are craving, or try and find another Roberts in the ranks of the federal appellate courts, or the Senate itself, where a conservative like Cornyn might presumably benefit from senatorial courtesy. In the meantime, Miers is left licking her wounds. For this “fine, fine woman,’ said Reid, Washington has once more proved itself “a tough town.’ AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week A “deeply disappointed’ president accepted her decision and “reluctantly’ withdrew the nomination Thursday morning, the White House said. Miers is the first Supreme Court nominee to be withdrawn before confirmation since 1987, when Douglas Ginsburg picked by President Reagan bowed after after it was revealed he had used marijuana. Bush and Miers each said they were concerned about Senate requests for documents that would illuminate Miers’ work as White House counsel. These were privileged communications, they argued, and could not be released. “She recognized that the process was heading toward an unresolvable impasse,’ said White House press secretary Scott McClellan. “We recognized that she would be required to cross those line that should not be crossed in order to satisfy senators about her judicial philosophy.’ But Miers’ supporters noted how, in the 24 days since Bush named her to the court, the politically-debilitated president has been savaged by conservative activists for nominating his personal attorney, whose views on abortion and other simmering social issues are not well-established.