Skip to comments.The Long Game: Voting against Harriet Miers might come back to haunt Republican senators.
Posted on 10/24/2005 9:28:23 AM PDT by Crackingham
President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has divided the conservative movement. Initially, most conservatives, but not quite all, expressed disappointment with the nomination. Since then, paths have diverged. Some conservatives, having gone on record as wishing that Bush had chosen someone else, have now migrated back into the fold, pronounced Miers a qualified candidate, and defended her nomination as the president's prerogative. Other conservatives have continued to ratchet up their attacks on Miers. Nearly every day produces yet another instance of Miers's alleged incompetence, inexperience, or suspected liberal sympathies.
Some of the criticisms of Miers are trivial; others are unfair. A few are better grounded, but at the same time, could have serious implications if Republican senators accept them as legitimate grounds to oppose her nomination.
Republicans have long taken the position that, because it is the president's prerogative to select Supreme Court justices, any nominee who is qualified and doesn't subscribe to an extreme judicial philosophy should be confirmed. Some Miers critics seem now to imply a new standard by mocking Miers as undistinguished, or by pointing out how much more qualified other potential nominees would have been. Such attacks carry a hazard. Until now, the judicial confirmation process has never been seen as one where senators can reject a qualified nominee on the ground that he or she isn't the nominee the senators wanted, or the one the senators consider the best.
But many conservative critics of Harriet Miers come perilously close to urging that standard on Republican senators, in hopes that, if Miers is defeated, the president will go back to the candidate pool more favored by conservatives. But, once a handful of Republican senators have used such a rationale to vote against a Republican nominee, it requires little imagination to foresee how quickly the Democrats will use that precedent to justify their own opposition to essentially any Republican nominee, no matter how well-qualified or mainstream.
A second avenue of conservative attack on Miers, somewhat related to the first, likewise could change the assumptions that have heretofore underlain the confirmation process. The biggest concern of many on the right is that Miers may not be a "real" conservative. Many Republicans, stung by the examples of Souter, Stevens, and others, believe that only a nominee with a
long paper trail, demonstrating a commitment to both political conservatism and to a judicial philosophy like "originalism," can be counted on, long-term, to defend conservative principles on the Court.
From this perspective, Miers is deemed unacceptable because she has not spent years wrestling with, and writing about, Constitutional issues; nor has she articulated a clear--and clearly conservative--theory of Constitutional interpretation. But there is a simple reason for this: Miers has spent her life in private practice. A private practitioner does not devote her time to developing theories of Constitutional interpretation. If a paper trail firmly identifying a nominee as an "originalist," or whatever, is a prerequisite for nomination, then we will never have anyone but judges and law professors as Supreme Court justices.
How does Souter feel knowing dems don't accept him and we can't stand him?
Is this a backhanded attempt to call some anti-Miers elitist? We know that's just not true.
Maybe he likes being a maverick, like john mcvain.
Asking for with drawl is a cop out, no matter what her hearing will bring out some issues that a more mainstream candidate might not.
I hope he is tortured by unspeakable anguish, but I doubt it.
An interesting summation of the weeks events.
The "not the best" arguments are critical of the decision to nominate, and not given as a reason to vote against.
The arguments to vote against are based on "not qualified", not "qualified but not the best".
The author has made up a position to argue against.
Well, at least someone "gets" it.
Calling Robert Bork to the white courtesy phone...
It's dangerously naive to think that the Democrats will be stopped from taking any action that they believe is in their benefit due to lack of reasonable justification.
She hasn't spent 5 minutes, let alone years.
This is the woman who denied ever discussing landmark SC cases with anyone.
If, on balance, the Senator can state reasons for not voting for Miers after she has been fairly heard then I would not hold it against them.
I had not realized that the RATS needed an excuse for filibustering well qualified mainstream Republican candidates. They have been doing that already.
In other words, no one has advocated that.
John Hinderaker -- moron.
"If a paper trail firmly identifying a nominee as an "originalist," or whatever, is a prerequisite for nomination, then we will never have anyone but judges and law professors as Supreme Court justices."
Well, at least someone "gets" it.
hardly backhanded. It flat out states the rationale for those who make the charge. In fact, it is patently self evident that, if the formulation is true, then those that hold to this position are absolutely being elitists, in every since of the word.
As to what "we know," I don't think you and I would agree on who "we" are, nor on what anyone can be said to know at this point in the debate. Anyone who claims that they have all the information they'll ever need and refuse to look at any other evidence are just a bit too arrogant and ignorant for my tastes.
Oops! I forgot something. < /sarcasm >
I haven't heard anyone (paticularly a senator) articulate why Mier's is "not qualified" so I would say the author is dead on in his analysis of the opposition.
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