Judith Miller Haters, Start Your Engines

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Judith Miller Haters, Start Your Engines

Here's a prediction of what we'll be seeing on many liberal blogs starting Friday: glee over Judith Miller's imminent jailing; outrage that the feds are dragging their feet about locking her up; speculation about how long she'll hold out before she gives up the Intimigate leakers; and opinions about how long she deserves to be in jail for her Iraq reporting, never mind the contempt of court.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Miller's and Matthew Cooper's appeals from the contempt orders stemming from their refusal to reveal the identity of their Intimigate source(s). I believe the order list that includes the Court's decision will come out on Friday morning. I have long expected the Court to refuse to hear the case. The fact that a majority of state attorneys general have asked the Court to take it, plus Theodore Olsen's involvement, change the odds somewhat, but I'd still bet against Miller and Cooper. Although they've been found in contempt and ordered to be locked up, that order has been stayed pending their appeals. If the Supremes tell them to go away, they will be out of appeals and would presumably go to jail until they agree to answer the special prosecutor's questions before the grand jury.

If the Court declines to hear the case, Miller and Cooper could request it to reconsider. That would ordinarily be a hopeless request, but tactically it might make sense. The current Term ends in less than two weeks, so the Court wouldn't get around to ruling on a request for reconsideration until the next Term begins in October. Perhaps the special prosecutor will agree to let Miller and Cooper stay out of jail until their appeals are officially exhausted. Also, maybe the Miller/Cooper camp will hope that if Rehnquist retires over the summer, his replacement might provide the necessary fourth vote to take the case.

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