by Max Brantley
After a long and strange period of silence, word comes that the White House is at last moving forward on the nomination of Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Brian Miller to fill the federal district court seat left vacant by the death of Judge George Howard.
It is a fair guess that protests from within Republican ranks slowed the process, though it had been reported weeks ago that other contenders for the job had been notified they had not been selected. Miller, a judicial appointee of then-Gov. Mike Huckabee, has friends among Democrats (he once interned for Sen.Blanche Lincoln) and no particular record as a Republican partisan. His lack of solid Republican credentials made him suspect in the eyes of GOP partisans. Given the push the president has made for hard-right judicial nominees, Democrats tend to think Miller's nomination is a good outcome in the Bush presidency and also a product of the fact that Democrats now control the Senate. But judicial appointees have surprised in the past. See David Souter.