Monday, March 24, 2008

Senseless sensibilities -- the Doug Kmiec file

Doug Kmiec is a professor of law at Pepperdine and a former "constitutional legal counsel" (his description) to two Republican presidents. Today he endorses Obama for president.

The endorsement is notable, but not for the default obvious reason that Kmiec is a conservative endorsing a liberal. Nor is it notable because Kmiec was an official in two Republican administrations. And the mere fact that a Republican (possibly) is crossing party lines is not necessarily notable either -- there will be plenty of "Democrats" crossing over for McCain come election time.

Instead, the endorsement is notable because Kmiec's reasoning is vapid. One reason:

I do have confidence that the Senator will cast his net widely in search of men and women of diverse, open-minded views and of superior intellectual qualities to assist him in the wide range of responsibilities that he must superintend.

Really? What imbues Kmiec with that confidence -- the far-left liberals Obama listens to when making his political and policy decisions or the radical church leaders who have endorsed him?

Kmiec notes that:

As a Republican, I strongly wish to preserve traditional marriage not as a suspicion or denigration of my homosexual friends, but as recognition of the significance of the procreative family as a building block of society. As a Republican, and as a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception, and it is important for every life to be given sustenance and encouragement. As a Republican, I strongly believe that the Supreme Court of the United States must be fully dedicated to the rule of law, and to the employ of a consistent method of interpretation that keeps the Court within its limited judicial role. As a Republican, I believe problems are best resolved closest to their source and that we should never arrogate to a higher level of government that which can be more effectively and efficiently resolved below. As a Republican, and the constitutional lawyer, I believe religious freedom does not mean religious separation or mindless exclusion from the public square.

Ok, none of that is surprising. This is:

In various ways, Senator Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.

That statement is ludicrous. In the next 4-8 years, some of the septu- and octogenarians on the Supreme Court will retire or (based on actuarial probability) die. The eldest is Justice Stevens, a Republican appointee who turned left-wing on the Court. These actuarial probabilities present a Republican president opportunities to appoint justices who will be like Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito -- conservative, nondoctrinaire practitioners of judicial restraint. Since the Bork hearings 20 years ago, the Supreme Court has been the biggest political prize of the presidency precisely because the president can appoint people who will long outlast his tenure to implement the president's own judicial philosophy.

Why would a Republican consider a liberal Democrat an ally or even a non-enemy in such a scenario? Why would Kmiec consider Obama liable to "accommodate" his views on judicial restraint when Obama voted no on both Roberts and Alito -- two unquestionably highly qualified jurists? Kmiec's reasoning and conclusions are preposterous. So Kmiec is dissatisfied with the current President, he offers no reason that the likely Republican nominee cannot succeed where the current President has failed.

Ultimately the audacity of hope has manifested in Kmiec's writing as the rhodomontade and drivel of the intellectual.

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