Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Monday, October 10, 2005

Harriet Miers’ Chances Not Looking Good

I am thinking that the chances that President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers, will be confirmed by the Senate are slim. I base this on the reaction from the Senate, from pundits, from conservatives, and from political columnists. Even Republican senators have not received President Bush’s nominee well. He has been forced to defend his choice against attacks from the right. Conservatives are questioning Miers’ qualifications and her politics. Contrast this reaction with the reception Judge John Roberts received from Republican senators.

Ms. Miers, a longtime Bush ally, White House counsel, former corporate attorney in Dallas, and onetime Texas Lottery official, has never been a judge.

Republicans complained that Ms. Miers lacks credentials and a clear record of accomplishment on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action. “I am not yet confident that Ms. Miers has a proven track record,” Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said. “There’s no way this woman is qualified for the United States Supreme Court,” said Republican author and commentator Patrick J. Buchanan.

Of course more left-leaning columnists such and Maureen Dowd, of the New York Times, and who seems to detest Republicans, and Molly Ivins have not expressed approval of Ms. Miers. Ms. Dowd quoted former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork as calling Miers “a disaster on every level” and “a slap in the face” to conservatives. Mr. Bork complained that Ms. Miers had “no experience with constitutional law whatever.” Ms. Ivins opined, “Miers’ chief qualification for this job is loyalty to George W. Bush and the team.” “Miers, like Bush himself, is classic Texas conservative Establishment, with the addition of Christian fundamentalism.”

Conservative columnists George F. Will, Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal, and William Kristol of the Weekly Standard, have been harshly critical of Ms. Miers’ nomination.

Mr. Will wrote that it might be very important that Harriet Miers not be confirmed. He says, “there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court’s tasks.” Mr. Will said of President Bush,

He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution…. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers’s nomination resulted from the president’s careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers’s name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

Ms. Miers’ accomplished career does not qualify her for a position on the Supreme Court, Mr. Will explains. “[C]onstitutional reasoning is a talent – a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest. It is not usually acquired in the normal course of even a fine lawyer’s career.”

Beyond the outlook for Ms. Miers, whose chances do not look good, I think this nomination reflects poorly on President Bush. While Ms. Miers may have been a sharp lawyer who provided fine legal services for President Bush, and while she may have been a pioneering female lawyer, she appears not to be well suited to sit on the Supreme Court. Her primary qualification appears to have been her relationship with the President.


  • This was just reported on the 10 o'clock news last night in the UK. I felt really clever because I already knew about it.

    By Blogger Lesley, at 3:05 AM, October 21, 2005  

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