October 25, 2005

Harriet Miers, "in line with the court's most hallowed traditions."

Andrew Ferguson characterizes the history Supreme Court appoints as "a long march of mediocrity " into which Harriet Miers would easily fit:
If you were to categorize Supreme Court nominees according to the reason presidents chose them, the slot for "Presidential Pal'' would quickly flood over -- while the category "Distinguished Constitutional Scholar'' would be significantly less populated than "Sop to Special Interests.''

The Supreme Court, in other words, has seldom been a showcase of intellectual distinction. To judge by her background and public writings, the choice of Miers appears in line with the court's most hallowed traditions.
The problem, he asserts, is that the last 20 years have been a "new era of excellence":
What accounts for this new era of excellence? One possibility is that we really have created the meritocracy that successful baby boomers are always telling us about (it explains why they're so successful!).

Another, more plausible explanation is the increasing importance of ideology.

The court having arrogated to itself the final say in many political and cultural matters, a president will want to be sure of a nominee's views. And intellectually engaged professors like Scalia and Ginsburg will have firmer and more predictable positions than professional networkers like Blackmun and Stevens.
So what does this mean? The renowned scholar is the real hack, and the President's friend is a decent, valid, time-honored choice?

(Aside: I note that the President did not pick his personal accountant to head the Federal Reserve.)

6 comments:

Allah said...

This is a judicial age of aquarius, Ann. The Miers skeptics have but one question:

Where's the sunshine?

Simon Kenton said...

Rush Limbaugh has his moments:

The other day, after exploring various scenarios for the Meirs, he said, "Folks, now let me tell you MY idea about this nomination. He'll withdraw her nomination for the Supreme Court, and nominate her to be ... Head of the Federal Reserve. After all, folks, she's filled out and signed Her Own Tax Returns for years. Taken care of her own Personal Banking, too. She's eminently qualified."

ziemer said...

there is a (very rare) spoof over at cafe hayek reporting that bush did appoint his personal accountant to head the fed.

best satire i've read since the onion stopped being funny.

Ann Althouse said...

Ziemer: I didn't copy! It was kind of a joke that was just there, asking to be told.

Tim said...

Would they be hacks because they are predictable?

ziemer said...

i'm not suggesting you copied it.

i was alerting you to it.