October 5, 2005

"I know her heart."

So says President Bush, as he tries to reassure conservatives about the Miers nomination. I razzed the Democrats for all the "heart" talk at the Roberts confirmation hearings, and the word makes me suspicious. Bush knows hearts (and he can look into a man's eye and see his soul). One wonders if his father believed he knew David Souter's heart.

There's a whole lot of "trust me" here, and it's especially hard to take because he has chosen someone who lacks the elite credentials of so many persons who were on the short list. When Bush chose John Roberts, he presented a person with stunning, silencing credentials. Now, so soon after that, we get the polar opposite. It's very strange indeed! I'm probably much more willing to trust Bush on something like this than most people are, and I'm not big on getting a particular ideology on the Court. (I'm not like the social conservatives who are fretting about the nomination because they want to know the nominee is anti-abortion.) But I do care intensely about competence, and I am highly sensitive to the idea that there is a two-track system, where male appointees are truly stellar and female appointees only need to be good enough and not too offensive to anyone.

UPDATE: From the Washington Times version of the same story, I read this Bush quote:
"I know her; I know her heart; I know what she believes -- remember, she was part of the search committee that helped pick Roberts," he said. "She knows exactly the kind of judge I'm looking for. And I know exactly the kind of judge she'll be."
Jeez, that's like something from a movie script where everyone in the audience is supposed to see the mistake the character is making!

5 comments:

Goesh said...

Oh boy! It would seem that a big fight is brewing on this one. MSN comments on her religious affiliation and pro-choice spirituality.

Gerry said...

"But I do care intensely about competence, and I am highly sensitive to the idea that there is a two-track system, where male appointees are truly stellar and female appointees only need to be good enough and not too offensive to anyone."

The phrase "the soft bigotry of low expectations" drifts to mind.

vnjagvet said...

How many sixty year old women have better credentials for the Supreme Court than Harriet Miers?

Law Review Articles Editor while one of the few women in law school.

Clerkship in the Federal District Court as a prelude to becoming a trial lawyer.

Became Managing Partner of a premier Texas Law Firm the hard way (she earned it).

President of the state bar of the second largest state in the country.

General Counsel to the President of the United States.

Look at Beldar's several posts if you think I exaggerate.

This attorney has practiced law in more of its many manifestations than all but a few attorneys in the United States.

She not only broke but shattered the glass ceiling with performance at all levels of the practice of law.

Why is that not truly stellar, considering that in 1970, when she entered the legal profession at age 25, fewer that five percent of practicing lawyers were women?

Ann Althouse said...

Vnjagvet: "How many sixty year old women have better credentials for the Supreme Court than Harriet Miers?" But 60 was considered too old to be a candidate until just now and apparently still is for the males. And what male candidate who is considered Supreme Court material takes a mid-career job doing something like the Texas Lottery Commission? Can you picture Roberts doing something like that even early in his career? Even if she was in the limited set of women who were law grads in 1970, huge numbers of women flowed into the profession very shortly later. Go to women in the 50 to 55 age range, the same target range used for the male candidates, at there are plenty of individuals with superior credentials. My problem isn't with her lack of judicial experience, it's that there are no elite credentials of the sort that say this is a superior intellect -- a mind that should decide the most important issues for us over a period of decades! If you think about it that way, her nomination is an absurd imposition on us by the President.

downtownlad said...

60 is only too old, because the court has become so politicized. Presidents want to get their choice on the court for the next 30-40 years, which is way too long if you ask me.

Roberts is the youngest chief justice ever, at a time when people are living longer than ever. It's absurd that this man could be leading the court for the next 40 years. That's about as long as Castro has been in power.

Bush was definitely considering other women who were in their 60's. Mary Ann Glendon from Harvard, for example.

I don't think being 60 should be a factor at all.

Is she competent? I don't know. But this is the President's choice, and the people elected him. So that has to count for a lot. Is it the best choice? Of course not. But I don't think she's awful. She's just rather mediocre. But that will be Bush's legacy, right?

If the Senate doesn't like it - then they should defeat the nomination. Good luck.