Senator Charles Grassley says he wishes Harriet Miers had not withdrawn her name from consideration as the next justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Grassley says he “would have preferred” that Miers go through the Senate hearings that are a prelude to a Senate vote on her nomination. Now that she’s withdrawn and given up her chance to speak out on her own behalf, G

Grassley says no one will truly know whether she was qualified for the nation’s highest court. “Everybody said the White Sox would never win a World Series because they hadn’t since 1917, but they had a chance to perform and they performed,” Grassley says. “That’s the only way we were ever going to know whether or not she was qualified to be on the Supreme Court.”

But Grassley says he respects Miers’ right to make the decision she made. Miers says she withdrew because Senators, who would be voting on her nomination, were demanding more of the documents she drafted in her role as the president’s lawyer. “She as counselor is not only counselor to President Bush but she’s, in a sense, a counselor to the Office of the Presidency…she also has a responsibility to protect the constitutional prerogative of the Office of the Presidency so the Office of the Presidency is not weakened,” Grassley says.

Conservative leaders in the Republican Party, including radio host Rush Limbaugh, had opposed Miers, questioning whether she shared their ideological views. Grassley, a Republican, doesn’t think that opposition was a factor in today’s announcement. “I don’t think (the conservative critics) made an impact,” Grassley says. “I think her decision was entirely personal and entirely in the vein of protecting not President Bush but protecting the presidency,” Grassley says.

During his travels around Iowa, Grassley says he only heard from one voter who opposed Miers’ nomination. Meanwhile, conservative groups are calling for a “strong conservative” to replace Miers.