It appears President Bush has risen above the fray with his choice of Harriet Miers for U.S. Supreme Court justice.
The nomination of Miers - no experience as a judge, no record of rulings, a member of Bush's inner circle - opens Bush to criticism from many sides.
Some conservatives already have expressed their disappointment that the nominee does not have a "proven track record" on hot-button issues such as abortion. And the mere fact that Harry Reid, Democratic minority leader from Nevada, gave her a warm reception was enough to set some partisans on edge.
Much more will be learned about Miers during her confirmation process. But Bush's confidence in her shouldn't be discounted. "When it's all said and done, the American people are going to know what I know: This woman deserves to be on the bench. And she'll bring credit to the bench and to the law," he said.
Beyond that is Bush's willingness to offer a nominee who appears to be open-minded on issues, while maintaining a sincere respect for the Constitution, and may turn out to be a consensus-builder on the high court.
That's the legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor, and those qualities are essential to a court that must be able to rise above partisan politics.
The judicial branch, and especially the Supreme Court, is the final link on the chain of a representative democracy. No matter who occupies the White House or rules the halls of Congress, the court must have the courage and determination to rise above issues of the day and apply the fundamental philosophies expressed in the Constitution.
History may yet define George W.'s legacy by his Supreme Court nominations. In that respect, Miers may not just be a good choice, she may be an inspired choice.