Sunday, October 23, 2005

My, My Miers

George Will writes a[nother] withering column about the Miers nomination:
Such is the perfect perversity of the nomination of Harriet Miers that it discredits, and even degrades, all who toil at justifying it. Many of their justifications cannot be dignified as arguments. ...

As for Republicans, any who vote for Miers will thereafter be ineligible to argue that it is important to elect Republicans because they are conscientious conservers of the judicial branch's invaluable dignity. Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion -- or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such -- can never be considered presidential material.
Will also has some thoughts for the Left:
And Democrats, with their zest for gender politics, need this reminder: To give a woman a seat on a crowded bus because she is a woman is gallantry. To give a woman a seat on the Supreme Court because she is a woman is a dereliction of senatorial duty. It also is an affront to mature feminism, which may bridle at gallantry but should recoil from condescension.
I somewhat agree, but I don't think the Dems are giving her a pass because she's a woman; I think they're largely just sitting back and letting the Republicans do their work for them for once. On the other hand, I definitely don't think anyone should support Miers simply because so many conservatives are upset by her nomination--even if they do percieve she possesses some liberal leanings. Not only because those leanings--and they've only ever been hinted at--are easily counter-balanced by some very explicit and simplistic conservative thought, but, more importantly, if she's under-qualified, she's under-qualified. Her political and religious leanings should be irrelevant. You shouldn't get to become a Supreme Court judge simply because you're a nice gal. Ms. Miers seems like a decent person, but she's failed every tests that's been presented to her so far. And, as John Stewart pointed out, getting on the Supreme Court shouldn't be like passing high school Spanish. You don't just get to take the test again.

Oh, yeah, and there's also the whole cronyism thing, but as others have pointed out, that wouldn't matter so much if we had a President upon whose taste and judgment we could rely.

Update: Indri directs us to Nine Scorpions who expresses another point about Miers, which I'd considered but hadn't seen articulated elsewhere:
Miers has never, in her long career, evinced any inclination whatsoever for serious legal scholarship. ...

What I mean is that she has never shown a capacity for taking difficult, analytical legal issues and teasing them out into a rational order.
This, of course, is why she doesn't have much of a paper trail - except for greeting cards and thank you notes. She hasn't seemed particularly interested in law or the Constitution intellectually. (This doesn't disqualify her from Bush's perspective, I guess, because he's on record for verbally expressing his disdain for intellectualism.)

Putting Miers on the Supreme Court would be akin to making a freshman English major Chairman of the English department, despite having no journal-published writings. Only about 100 times worse.

None of this should sound elitist. It wouldn't be elitist not to promote a neophyte to the highest position in her profession in any other realm. It certainly shouldn't be considered as such when you're talking about a 20, 30 year run on the nation's highest court.

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