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Monday, October 17, 2005

A Defense of Miers

Mathew Skully, a former speechwriter for President Bush, writes an interesting defense of Hariet Miers in The New York Times:

My friend David Frum expresses the general complaint when he asks, in his blog, when did Harriet Miers 'ever take a risk on behalf of conservative principle? Can you see any indication of intellectual excellence? Did she ever do anything brave, anything that took backbone?' To translate: When all the big-thinkers were persevering year after year at policy institutes and conferences at the Mayflower Hotel, or risking all for principle in stirring op-ed essays and $20,000 lectures, where was Little Miss Southern Methodist University? If four years observing the woman is any guide, the answer is she was probably doing something useful.
Ouch. I am still not totally convinced in Miers, but I am increasingly disliking the criticisms of her that most are leveling. She seems accomplished enough to be a Supreme Court Judge to me, and while I have some questions about her constitutional philosophy, it seems a hard sell that she won't be 'conservative' enough. The detractors of the Miers nomination seem to me to be mostly mad that they won't get a huge battle in the Senate rather than actual problems with the nomination. Given some of the arguments these people have made about other Judges what they are saying about Miers often seems hypocritical.


Blogger Cubicle said...

"She seems accomplished enough to be a Supreme Court Judge to me,"

Has she ever aruged a case before the supreme court? Has she ever clerked before for any supreme court judge?

While she is accomplished, i don't think she is supremely accomplished. She has played ball in the minor leagues her entire life. Could she be ready for the big game? I don't know.

The fact that your are not "not totally convinced" should tell you somthing. You can aruge the philosophy all day, but if you have a slightest doubt about the person's ablities, then that is where the talk should end and you should find some one else.

10/17/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger RFTR said...

I don't think that Supreme Court Justices need to have Supreme Court experience, as cubicle seems to imply.

I do, however, think that people should be able to show at the very least an advanced understanding of and familiarity with constitutional principles. This woman, from what I can see, has none.

That concerns me.

10/17/2005 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

My concern about Miers is very narrow. As I have said before I think she will be a strong advocate for executive power. Basically, the ability of the President to conduct the War on Terror as he sees fit.

I am concerned that she leans too far in that direction, and I am convinced that that is why she was chosen. Roberts struck me that way as well, but one judge there, and probably one a little less adamant about that than Miers didn't bug me much. Two is quite a shift. A bit too much and too quickly for me to be comfortable with.

However, her career shows sufficient accomplishment to me. Her politics in other areas seem reasonable enough, although I am not a huge social issues guy, I think Roe was decided wrong, but I am ok with the result anyway.

As for 'constitutional principles' I am honestly not sure that real world in the trenches work living with the results of Supreme Court decisions, as a lawyer and as a key player in the White House isn't a good substitute for that. Ideals and pure principles are nice, but a bit of reality is nice too.

10/17/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Katinula said...

I see your point Dave, however in the case of SCOTUS, I think real world 'living with' the decisions of the SCOTUS and etc. makes Harriet Miers much more a politician and much less worthy of being a Justice. Shockingly enough, I'll refer to Ann Coulter (in one of the exceedinly rare cases I do agree with her) that SCOTUS is one place where you do want the 'nerd' for lack of a better term. The person who has thought about constitutional law and developed a philosphy and is a constitutional scholar.
This is not my only concern about Miers, but it is my biggest.

10/18/2005 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

The idea of 'developed a philosophy' seems a bit disengenuous to me. No one wants a 'developed philosophy,' they want a developed philosophy that they agree with.

I'd rather a Supreme Court Judge had no philosophy at all rather than a philosophy I disagreed with.

Miers is a competant lawyer. I very competant lawyer. The real question is, is she a wise person. I don't know if their is a test for that, and an academic philosophy isn't a substitute.

10/18/2005 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Cubicle said...

" I don't think that Supreme Court Justices need to have Supreme Court experience, as cubicle seems to imply."

I am sorry, i realize i did imply that by my examples. While I would prefer supreme coure expericne, i don't think it is nessacry. Though I do think high level experencie at the state level should be.

10/18/2005 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

I will say it again.

In truth her "qualification" as a Justus of SCOTUS is really neither here nor there.

The biggest thing in her "favour" is future political usefulness... to the Republicans.

10/19/2005 06:41:00 PM  

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