Skip to comments.Miers and Rehnquist: Neither Were Judges Before SCOTUS Nomination!
Posted on 10/13/2005 6:53:22 AM PDT by jveritas
One of the first and most important arguments that the anti-Miers camp tells us that Miers is not qualified because she never served as a judge. Well either the anti-Miers conservatives are hypocrites or they are totally ignorant because the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, one of the most conservative justices ever, was never a judge before he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Nixon.
Here is a Link for the biography of late Chief Justice Rehnquist.
And your point?
Renquist clerked for the Supreme Court...in other words, he probably wrote a supreme court opinion while Miers was still in law school.
Doesn't matter, those with an anti-Meirs template are all aflutter over Harriet Miers sending then Gov. Bush an American Greetings card(gasp, time for a special prosecutor).
Why should we care if she has experience with constitutional law issues after all W knows her and that should be good enough for any conservative /sarcasm
Janice Rogers Brown would have been an awesome pick that would've fired up the conservative base. She's got a great life story and it would've been awesome to see liberal racists like Ted Kennedy and Pat Leahy talk down to her.
Instead, we are stuck with a woman who really excites no one. Maybe she'll surprise us and blow away Kennedy & Co in the hearings and turn out great, but the point is - Why do we have to hope? Why didn't Bush nominate a proven entity? Clinton didn't pussy foot around when he nominated Breyer and Ginsburg - why did Bush?
"Two years later, Nixon had another chance to nominate a Southerner, and to add a judicial (and political) conservative. Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell of Richmond, Virginia to replace Black, and Rehnquist to replace Harlan. Rehnquist was questioned at Senate Judiciary Committee hearings about a memorandum he had written for Justice Jackson in 1952 concerning the then-pending case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The memorandum concluded that "separate but equal" (the standard in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896) was the correct constitutional standard. At his hearings, Rehnquist testified that the memo did not reflect his views, but the views of Justice Jackson, to be used at the conference of the Justices at which Brown would be discussed. His testimony was disputed by others (but supported privately by Justice William O. Douglas, the only member of the Court in 1971 who was on the Court in 1952), but the flap subsided, and Rehnquist was confirmed by a vote of 68-26. (Powell, the more moderate nominee, was confirmed by a vote of 89-1.)"
Your point is irrelevant. It's not that Miers has never been a judge -- frankly, that's a good thing. But she's got no record of any kind, that we can find anyway, on the kinds of Constitutional questions that come to the Supreme Court -- no cases argued, no memos like Roberts, no articles, no classes taught, nothing. So we have to assume that she is a strict constructionist and that she will have the backbone to resist the kinds of blandishments that moved Anthony Kennedy to being at least a quasi-liberal judge.
For goodness' sake, the woman was editor of the Texas Law Review, and STILL we haven't been able to find ANY evidence of any thinking about the Constitution or judicial philosophy. That's the problem -- and especially so when there wree so many good solid originalist thinkers whom the President could have picked.
Frankly, Miers wouldn't have been on anyone's Supreme Court list. How did she float to the top of Bush's?
Is the Constitution not written in plain English? Do you suppose that Harriet Meirs cannot read and interpret the English language?
So a bit over a year as a clerk qualifies one to be on the SC now? His experience prior to being nominated was hardly more laudable than hers.
And the "while she was still in law school" comment is just silly. If you want someone who was clerking for the SC when Rehnquist was... that person would also likely be near death.
Rehnquist was an advisor to Barry Goldwater along with Robert Bork. He was in the trenches of the conservative movement throughout the 60's. Where he stood was well known.
I remember when Rhenquist was nominated. The critics said he was undistinguished. But they believed he was a conservative because Nixon nominated him! Also recall that Nixon had had two nominations rejected prior to nominating Rhenquist.
Obviously not, can someone show me where the Founders wrote a definate career track to be a SCOTUS justice?
The greatness of the US Constitution is that it was written by very enlightened men to be understood by ordinary men and women without the need for so called expert to tell us what the Constitution means.
But as you well know, that's not the argument at all, at least not by anyone on this side of the aisle.
But hey, W appointed her, so what right do we ahve to criticize, right?
Ummm... that's what the whole battle is about. You do know, don't you, that the prevailing wisdom says that the Constitution is not written in plain English, but rather is laden with penumbras and emanations that our judicial overlords must decipher for us.
Conservatives have been fighting for decades to restore the paradigm of plain-English interpretation. That's why people are reacting to vigorously to the nomination of a complete unknown.
Clerking for Justice Robert Jackson-a distinguished Attorney and Solicitor General, American prosecutor for war crimes at Nuremberg, and one of the better Supreme Court justices of the 20th century-is not much of a stretch from being a career crony, backslapper, and careerist, who's never published a single compelling thought on any controversial, weighty Constitutional matter?
As for Miers, not even her boyfriend of 30 years can articulate ONE position she has ever taken on any issue.
I hope they do not damage their eyes looking for that as it is somewhat akin looking for the pork in pork & beans! It ain't there!
PS: Google is the enemy of ignorants and liars.
Strawman. It's more of what Dean describes as 'hiding the paper salami'.
I, for one hope that Meirs makes it. No way she would be worse that who she is replacing.
By the way, nice use of the English language there.
It's perfectly defensible, especially considering the fact that this woman has never argued any case before the Supreme Court, has never authored any substantive opinions relating to critical Constitutional questions, and to the best of our knowledge has never studied Constitutional law after acquiring her law degree.
Why do you think the president didn't nominate someone like Janice Rogers Brown? No one really believes that Miers was his first choice (this is not an attack or apology for Miers, just noting it). Either Brown and the others would not accept the nomination for whatever reason (this is being leaked to some extent by the WH), or Bush decided they would likely not be confirmed. If this latter reason is why he went with Miers, I don't blame Bush, I blame our GOP Senators. They have not backbone. Even on Roberts, perfectly qualified, amazing to watch, the GOP side was not absolutely locked on in support of him.
I'm neither a hypocrite nor ignorant, and I still oppose the Miers nomination.
The comparison to Justice Rehnquist is disingenuous, as the issue isn't Miers minimum qualifications for the bench - she is, by virtue of being a lawyer, qualified. Rather, the issue is whether she is the best candidate at this time, and she clearly is not.
Notice Dane that no one has mentioned this before in the anti-Miers camp, although I am sure that many conservatives pundits were aware of this but they just thought they can hide it from the "ignorant masses". Do you the "elitism" that we have know among liberals being manifested among some of our own?
Evidently, they believe she cannot.
Crazy, isn't it?
I see a pattern of useless flamebait posts emerging.
Yep, the "originalist" elite conviently forget that there is no set career track to be a SCOTUS Justice.
Absolutely I DO know that and consider it to be one of the MAJOR problems this country faces!
Conservatives have been fighting for decades to restore the paradigm of plain-English interpretation.
Yet when they FINALLY get a president willing to do something about it they throw a howling, spitting FIT!
That's why people are reacting to vigorously to the nomination of a complete unknown.
She is NOT a complete unknown to the fellow who is charged with the appointing and who's record in this area is impeccable!
The other straw-man argument constantly being hawked by the Bush administration is that Miers' critics object that she's never been a judge. To quote another Bush Read my lips: No one has said that. So please stop comparing Miers to Justice Byron White (first in his class at Yale Law School) or Justice William Rehnquist (first in his class at Stanford Law School).
Bush is the President - if he can't corral the Senators in his own party, then he is WEAK.
Hmmm ... I wonder what those two have in common?
I reckon it's a good thing he became a judge. As an advisor he seemed to be lacking.
On the note on Why Bush didn't nominate someone else, it is disheartening to face the pathetic facts about the GOP Senate. They ain't got no balls and they have some within their ranks who are downright liberal. Others have axes to grind, say like Lott.
Others like McVain and his a$$-kissin buddy Lindsey Graham, DeWhine, weepy Voinobitch...these clowns along with Chaffee, Snowe, and Collins are a cancer and cannot be counted on in a knock down drag out fight.
They've already sold us out once with their Gang of 14 antics. Should Bush have gone in-their-faces and dared them to oppose his nominee in say JRB??? I don't know. Part of me says yes, and part of me sees the downside ramifications of losing that fight.
I figure if I had the choice, I would have gone with JRB and gone to the mattresses...but, alas, it wasn't my choice. And, if the info from Dobson was in any way correct, JRB may have turned it down.
It's called cya.
And the White House can do all the spinning it wants, but that doesn't mean I have to buy it for one second.
However the "smartest" among us want to tell the President who to pick because the Constitution is very clear that the "smartest people" in the President party must send the President a list of nominees for SCOTUS and he must choose from this list or he must be impeached. (End of sarcasm).
Crazy, isn't it?
Indeed it is! IMHO one of the biggest problems the conservative movement has, and I am a VERY long term member, is their inconsistency on many issues. This one included.
Nice insinuation. Real nice, and pertinent also.
Your tagline says everything about you.
It says that I'm not a mindless lemming.
How gauche of me!
> One of the first and most important arguments that
> the anti-Miers camp tells us that Miers is not
> qualified because she never served as a judge.
I haven't been slavishly following the debate,
and don't have a position on it, but:
a. this was not one of the first arguments,
b. it isn't the most important argument, and
c. I notice that there are no references cited.
Give us examples from the "anti-Miers camp".
This looks to me like a straw-man argument.
Like many Americans in his generation, Rehnquist attended college after World War II with the support of scholarship money from the GI Bill. At Stanford, he earned both a bachelor and a master of arts degree in political science. A distinguished student, Rehnquist was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1948. He continued his education at Harvard where he received another master of arts degree -- this time in government -- two years later. Rehnquist returned to Stanford Law School in 1950; he graduated at the top of his class. (Sandra Day O'Connor, who would eventually serve with him on the Supreme Court, graduated third from that same class.)
At law school, Rehnquist started down the path that would eventually take him to the Supreme Court. Having already established a reputation among his instructors and peers as a brilliant legal thinker and an able scholar, Rehnquist impressed one professor sufficiently to earn a private interview with Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who was visiting the law school. Rehnquist's professor, a former clerk for Jackson, arranged the meeting in hopes that his favored student could convince Jackson of his qualifications for a clerkship. Rehnquist walked away from that meeting feeling he had failed to impress Jackson in the slightest. However, his fears proved false as Jackson eventually selected him for clerkship that year. Rehnquist's clerkship under the moderate Jackson did not alter his conservative beliefs in any noticeable manner. Instead, his exposure to the other clerks may have served only to confirm his conservativism.
Rehnquist married Natalie Cornell, whom he had met during his law school years, after his completing his clerkship. He also moved to Phoenix, Arizona to work for a law firm there. Rehnquist chose Phoenix for its pleasant weather and favorable political leanings. The next few years passed uneventfully for Rehnquist. He, together with his wife, raised a son and two daughters.
Following advice given to him by Justice Felix Frankfurter, Rehnquist began his participation in the Republican Party. He became a Republican Party official and achieved prominence in the Phoenix area as a strong opponent of liberal initiatives such as school integration. Rehnquist campaigned for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater during the 1964 elections. During that time, he befriended Richard Kleindienst, another attorney from Phoenix. When Richard Nixon rose to the presidency a few years later, he appointed Kleindienst deputy attorney general of his administration. Kleindienst sought Rehnquist for the position of deputy attorney general in then Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
When Justice John Marshall Harlan retired in 1971, the Nixon administration chose Rehnquist as Harlan's replacement. A Democratic Senate overwhelmingly confirmed his nomination. On January 7, 1972, Rehnquist -- and fellow nominee, Lewis Powell -- took their oaths of office.
In his early days on the Court, Rehnquist was outspoken as the Court's lone dissenter despite the presence of three other Republican appointees. He battled against the expansion of federal powers and advocated a strong vision of state's rights. Rehnquist also differed from the majority's view that the Fourteenth Amendment applied to non-racial issues such as the rights of women, children, and immigrants. Although his dissents at the time influenced very little of the Court's conclusions, Rehnquist provided the future Court many valuable ideas which inspired the later conservative shift. Rehnquist's views led him to oppose the majority in several important decisions. In his opinion, the liberal faction of the Court too often tried to shape public policy by expanding the scope of the law beyond its original meaning.