Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rumination --> Disgust --> Anger --> Depression

See, here's the thing with the Miers nomination. I want to enjoy it- I want to enjoy watching (reading) die-hard conservatives squirm, lament, suddenly realize that "even Kerry might have been better than this." And I do enjoy it, on various visceral levels. But this is the SUPREME COURT. Bush's intransigence in the face of scrutiny from within his party and without are amusing, in a cynical way, when he, say, appoints his "message nanny" (Karen Hughes) as "Undersecretary of State for trying to talk the Middle East into liking us." That was more funny than dangerous. Harriet Miers as the next SCOTUS justice- mmm... not so funny.

Michelle Malkin (yup) quotes a Randy Barnett editorial in the WSJ which sums up the educated conservative take on Miers and frankly my take as well. (As an aside, Randy Barnett is a law prof at BU and was the mentor of my favorite professor, Marcus Cole, a groundbreaking libertarian whose take on contract law is pretty revolutionary and who is now working at the Hoover Institute at Stanford (I think).)

"By characterizing this appointment as cronyism, I mean to cast no aspersions on Ms. Miers. I imagine she is an intelligent and able lawyer. To hold down the spot of White House counsel she must be that and more. She must also be personally loyal to the president and an effective bureaucratic infighter, two attributes that are not on the top of the list of qualifications for the Supreme Court.

To be qualified, a Supreme Court justice must have more than credentials; she must have a well-considered "judicial philosophy," by which is meant an internalized view of the Constitution and the role of a justice that will guide her through the constitutional minefield that the Supreme Court must navigate. Nothing in Harriet Miers's professional background called upon her to develop considered views on the extent of congressional powers, the separation of powers, the role of judicial precedent, the importance of states in the federal system, or the need for judges to protect both the enumerated and unenumerated rights retained by the people. It is not enough simply to have private opinions on these complex matters; a prospective justice needs to have wrestled with them in all their complexity before attaining the sort of judgment that decision-making at the Supreme Court level requires, especially in the face of executive or congressional disagreement.

Even a star quarterback with years of high school and college football under his belt takes years of experience and hard knocks to develop the knowledge and instincts needed to survive in the NFL. The Supreme Court is the big league of the legal profession, and Ms. Miers has never even played the judicial equivalent of high school ball, much less won a Heisman Trophy.
Ms. Miers would be well qualified for a seat on a court of appeals, where she could develop a grasp of all these important issues. She would then have to decide what role text and original meaning should play in constitutional interpretation in the context of close cases and very difficult decisions. The Supreme Court is no place to confront these issues for the very first time."

So while we Dems might be tempted to triumph at the confusion and disappointment going on right now on the right side of the aisle, we have to remember that this ill-qualified woman stands to influence all our lives. The Supreme Court is no place for cronies, no place to "reward loyalty," no place for a man or woman of questionable legal qualifications.


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Heather B. said...


At 11:20 AM, Blogger Lizzie said...

Not to make light of it, but I think you'll like this:


If the link doesn't work, check my page.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Noisette said...

FUNNY, Lizzie- I love it!

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Lizzie said...

I've been so busy that I haven't really picked up a paper in the last few days but I had heard that this is really all a ploy by Bush to nominate someone much more conservative and unpalatable to democrats. From what I heard, Bush is nominating someone he knows will not be confirmed so when he nominates someone more conservative the democrats will have to confirm him or her so they won't look reflexively obstructionist. One, I find it hard to believe that Bush's mind actually thinks like that. Rove's maybe. Somehow I'm not buying it though. Two, if it is true, it's egregiously stupid and atrocious to manipulate something as important as a supreme court nomination like that. Of course, nominating someone to the highest court in the land with basically no experience may be equally ridiculous, especially in a post-Brownie world. Bush's idiocy and incompetence continues to amaze.


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