Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A choice, not an echo -- the Miers nomination

Hugh Hewitt, the Right's leading apologist for Harriet Miers who has now styled himself "anti-anti-Miers", propounds the following questions to those of us who dislike the Miers nomination. His questions, with The Monk's answers, follow:

Does George W. Bush deserve any loyalty from his party? From pundits identified with his party? If so, how much and why not more?

Loyalty is a two-way relationship. The effort of conservatives to get better conservative judges in the Federal courts and to expand the pool of good conservatives who would be candidates for the Supreme Court has been a 25-year project dating back to Reagan's election. Bush OWED conservatives for helping get him elected and helping get him a Republican Senate so soon after the Jeffords perfidy in 2001. He spurned us when he nominated Miers, thus his selection of a personal friend who has no real claim to be a Supreme Court justice deserves little deference.

Do Harriett Miers' many accomplishments count for nothing?

The fact that Harriet Miers is not competent to be a Supreme Court justice certainly does not mean her accomplishments "account for nothing" in the larger scheme. But even within the smaller universe of pioneering female lawyers, she's not among the best, the brightest or the most accomplished.

Does Harriett Miers strike the commentator as a dedicated public servant?

This is basically irrelevant. Given the prestige and tremendous honor that a Supreme Court nomination carries, whether she has been a good soldier for the public means little to me.

Why not wait for the hearings to at least begin?

This is simple on two levels: First, her lack of qualification to be a Supreme Court Justice is so manifest that the hearings cannot demonstrate otherwise, instead they would at best show that she can study up and regurgitate legal catchphrases just as any good law student or litigator is able to do. Second, she is a cipher even to her closest friends, therefore she is unlikely to say anything useful at the hearings -- why bother and waste our time?

How important is it that Roe v. Wade/Casey be reversed?

It is important that the judicial legislating and sophistry that comprise the foundations of these decisions be excised from legal decisionmaking. Reversal of the cases themselves is secondary. Furthermore, Hewitt's implied premise is that she will vote to reverse those cases; the evidence seems otherwise in light of the recent WaPo articles on her previous speeches.

Which five precedents does the commentator think are in most pressing need of reversal?

Kelo first, foremost and beyond question (eminent domain for non-public purpose); McConnell v. FEC (upholding the free speech limitations in McCain-Feingold); Grutter v. Bolinger (racial preferences at U. Michigan); Roper v. Simmons (evolving "international standards" imported into US law); Raich v. Gonzales (commerce clause extension), in that order.

Does the commentator agree with George Will's assertion of Justice Lewis Powell as the "embodiment of mainstream conservative jurisprudence?"

This is a trick question. Will said this when Powell was nominated, to the Court, not recently. Powell was a country club lesse majeste conservative, so he actually fit the bill in the early 1970s. Since Powell's retirement from the court, the mainstream conservative jurisprudence has changed and Will's assessment has too.

Is a neo-Borking underway which will discredit the conservative cause's defense of its future nominees against similar, future attacks from the left?

Why? The conservatives are decrying cronyism, lack of competence, lower standards and poor analysis of the nominee's thought processes and judicial temperament -- these are all good things.

What are the political consequences of a defeat of Miers at the hands of a GOP controlled Senate?

A stern and well-deserved rebuke to the President; emboldening the left yet satisfying the right that the Supreme Court should not be the repository of patronage appointments and political hacks.

No comments: