October 3, 2005

Schumer looked happy.

Senator Schumer had on his jovial demeanor as he talked about the Miers nomination at his press conference, which I saw part of just now on C-Span. He indicated that Miers was one of the names on the list of acceptable candidates the Democrats gave to President Bush.

UPDATE: I'm watching the C-Span rerun of Harry Reid's presentation this morning. Miers stood with him and he praised her unstintingly. He didn't commit to voting for her, but he seemed to be actively promoting her.

24 comments:

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Isn't Schumer's reaction the 'kiss of death' with conservatives?

If he's comfortable with her, there's no way the conservatives will be happy with her.

Gerry said...

Interesting.

But if/when the ABA rates her "unqualified", I wonder what will happen.

Matt said...

"But if/when the ABA rates her "unqualified""

That, to me, is the $64,000 question. If she's deemed unqualified by the ABA, then I would think and hope that the nomination would go down in flames.

Tony said...

Schumer's approval doesn't fill me woth warm comfortable feelings about this. But maybe that's what Schumer's trying to do. Derail this candidate by supporting her. ;)

PatCA said...

I'm sure she was the candidate that Leahy and Schumer told the pres they wanted in exchange for Roberts. This leads me to one of two conclusions:
1. Lame Duck Bush is being hammered by Republicans who are facing election in '06 and are scared of the war and of, well, anything that might siphon off moderate votes. Rove, too, will need a job come 2006. If it's not with a Saudi think tank, it will have to be another Republican.
2. Bush and Rove continue to act not on principle but on politics and fail to see the downside of this strategy.

Simon said...

If the President had anything - just one thing - in his record to give me reason to defer to his choices, to trust his judgement, maybe I'd be less concerned about this nomination, and maybe I'd be less concerned about our new Chief Justice. Unfortunately, I keep remembering that a Republican President appointed Earl Warren; a Republican President appointed Harry Blackmun; a Republican President appointed Sandra Day O'Connor; a Republican President appointed Tony Kennedy and David Souter. I do not trust this President, and I only supported him because a) he was my party's candidate and b) he was better than the alternatives. Oh, that it could have been Cheney/Bush rather than the other way around.

I think maybe what makes me uncomfortable is people who are more concerned with results than process. Whether the results you prefer are liberal or conservative, if you think in terms of results not process, you're just another flavor of dead wrong. If you favor process, then process does not change. But if you favor results, and are in the habit of choosing results and then finding a reason to come out that way, as you change, the results you prefer may change. This, I think, is what happened with Kennedy: he was a conservative when appointed, but he was a results-oriented conservative, not a process-oriented conservative. As he got older, and spent time in Washington, his proclivities drifted towards the center, thus so did his preferred results. Lacking an anchor in process, he continued to do exactly what he did before: justify results through process, rather than reach results by process. Ditto O'Connor. This would explain why the process-oriented originalists have not disappointed the Presidents who appointed them, and the results-oriented Conservatives have in every instance done exactly that.

I await proof that Miers is a process-oriented originalist, rather than merely a conservative. Otherwise, I will have little choice but to urge my Senators to vote no. Party loyalty should go out of the window when Supreme Court nominations appear, and Senators should remember their oath: to support and defend the Constitution. At the risk of sounding the intolerant ideologue that Ann suggested that those who oppose Roberts must be, I see no way in which a person who is not an originalist can swear that oath in good conscience.

As Robert Bork once explained, "I don't want liberal judges, I don't want conservative judges; I want originalist judges."

amy said...

Maybe Schumer smiled because he knows they have Miers' demise in-hand. Perhaps she "made the list" for other reasons. I'm sure it had little to do with the fact that she contributed to Al Gore's campaign once upon a time.

Jack Roy said...

Amy---

Where do you see that? I went over to opensecrets dot org and searched from 1990 to 2000; the nominee appears to have given only to George W. Bush, Pete Sessions, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Phil Gramm, and to her law firm's PAC or some such entity.

There was a Harris Miers who gave to Clinton in 1991, but so far I haven't seen anything about the nominee.

vbspurs said...

There was a Harris Miers who gave to Clinton in 1991, but so far I haven't seen anything about the nominee.

Well, well. First the orientation business, now this.

The rumourmongerers are in overdrive already, don't you think?

Good catch on the correction, Jack.

Cheers,
Victoria

Marcus Aurelius said...

I am hearing repeatedly that Harriet Miers did contribute to leftist organizations candidates such as the DNC.

The arguments I hear minimizing this is the fact Dems dominated TX until recently and most businesses hedge their bets. Could be.

Base conserevatives such as myself I think will now refuse to let the next Demorcrat president simply have their way with a supreme court nomination.

I am not happy but am willing to wait and see. Patca, your notes about results orientation vs. process orientation makes a lot of sense. Activists will be activists and a conservative activist judge who converts will be just as activist as a leftist.

Jack Roy said...

Whoops--- Wonkette's reporting a contribution made in 1988 to Al Gore. That is, two years before I bothered to search, but well after Mr. Gore had become a politician and collected contributions. My bad.

madcat said...

On Miers donating to Dems:

Supreme Court Nominee Gave to Bush-Cheney Recount and to Dems in '88 Cycle
10/3/2005 10:18:12 AM
Supreme Court Nominee Harriet E. Miers was a $2,000 donor to Bush-Cheney '04 (Primary Inc.), and a $1,000 donor to Bush in 2000, a $1,000 donor to the Bush-Cheney Compliance Fund and a $5,000 donor to the Bush-Cheney Inc. Recount Fund. In earlier years she had also given to Kay Bailey Hutchison, Pete Sessions, and Phil Gramm. In the 1988 election she gave $1,000 to Senator Bentsen, $1,000 to Albert Gore Jr. for President and $1,000 to the Democratic National Committee.


From Political MoneyLine, at www.tray.com.

Goatwhacker said...

Simon, your comments are thought-provoking since by reading discussion boards and listening to the media hardly anyone seems to want what you do - a process-oriented originalist. Very little attention is paid to whether a judicial candidate will carefully consider both sides of a case and make a good decison, rather the question is will he/she make the decision that I want her to?

Liberals seem to want candidates that are pro-choice, pro-affirmative action, etc. while the right wants the opposite. I predict most of the focus on Miers nomination will be whether she will give people the outcomes they want, plus the usual National Enquirer stuff about sexual orientation, does her hair look nice, and so on.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Schumer liking a candidate of course, but you do have to figure out why he feels that way.

While I hate to think she was chosen because she is a female, I am happy to have another woman on the court.

SteveR said...

The fact that Harriet Miers used to be a Texas Democrat (as was Phil Gramm to name one of many) does not say that much about her politics or judicial leanings. One would have to think Gearge Bush has been around her enough to know exactly what he's getting, it would be hard to believe he could get a David Souter out of her.

vbspurs said...

In the 1988 election she gave $1,000 to Senator Bentsen, $1,000 to Albert Gore Jr. for President and $1,000 to the Democratic National Committee.

Ack! Now I have to correct my post about this, although I'm grateful for the fingerwork in researching it for this blog's readership.

These contributions don't bother me.

They were made in 1988, before President Clinton's administration ushered in the more politicised/polarised world of American politics.

Since 1988, she has donated to arguably the most socially/religiously/ethically Conservative Party, and its candidates, this country has ever seen.

If anything these donations can be used as proof positive to the opposition that she's no ideologue, boosting her chances when she comes in front of the SJH panel.

Finally, let's just remember that if the President had wanted to appoint merely a Conservative crony to this position, of dubious philosophy, he would've gone with the alarmingly un-originalist Alberto Gonzales, after all.

He didn't. Relax.

Cheers,
Victoria

gs said...

Some of Simon's words serve for me:

I do not trust this President, and I only supported him because <strike> a) he was my party's candidate and b)</strike> he was better than the alternatives.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

I am surprised by the number of posters here and elsewhere who lean on the "Bush has known her for years - he must know what he's getting" line of reasoning.

Isn't it easy to imagine a situation where Bush nominates a mildly (not criminally) sycophantic underling who has always presented her 'best' face to her beloved boss, while, lawyer-like, keeping to her self the vicissitudes of her subtler legalistic thoughts? She may, as she learns to be a judge, arrive at opinions that do not come anywhere near her Boss's expectations.

Or, more simply, isn't she a strong candidate for evolving (no pun intended) on the court because the situation will be new to her in 2 crucial aspects - 1) She has never been a judge before, and 2) She has never been her own boss before - she always has lawyered for other people's agendas.

As she discovers what it is to be a judge, and what it is to be directly accountable for her own opinions and intiative, she may very well move a great distance from her current views. Of course, she may get MORE conservative, but certainly, I think, she'll change.

XWL said...

After listening to Sen. Schumer on various shows I get the feeling that he will do the same tap dance as he did with Chief Justice Roberts (hah!) and conclude that after intense questioning that she failed to answer all the questions that, he the humble servant of the American people that he is, had asked and therefore he will find himself forced to vote no on Harriet Miers.

And I have a feeling if Pres. Bush had nominated Sen. Schumer himself he would run from one side of the table to the other during the hearing asking himself sarcastic and unanswerable questions, then refuse to answer those questions on the grounds that he couldn't prejudge potential cases, then make fun of himself for that refusal, then make a statement to the press that though he finds himself qualified he can't justify voting for himself for the Supreme Court cause he refused to answer his own questions forthrightly and he suspects himself of hiding some dark secret.

Simon said...

by reading discussion boards and listening to the media hardly anyone seems to want what you do - a process-oriented originalist.i

I guess that makes me ipso facto outside the mainstream, doesn't it? ;) I'm not much concerned about that. Everyone, every single person, bar none, is devout about something. Everyone has a bottom line, a bedrock, an inviolable rule, something that they believe in. In my case, it is the Constitution.

But you're right, and Scalia had it right years ago. When judging becomes - or is perceived as having become - results-oriented, the people will want to sieze control of it. Conservatives will want conservative judges who will write opinions like Lochner, liberals will want liberal judges who will write opinions like Roe, and with each appointment, we will slip further and further down the rabbit hole.

I don't doubt that today, John Roberts and Harriet Miers are conservatives; it's very likely that they will vote conservatively, and perfectly probable that often, they will vote in line with the original understanding (because even a broken watch is right twice a day); they may even write an argument giving lip service. But when presented with a Hamdi, do they choose the Constitution, or do they choose precedent? When confronted with an Ex rel Schaivo, do they dismiss it as a state issue, or are they but fairweather friends to the federal scheme? Conservatism and originalism are frequently happy bedfellows, but when they are not, it is conservatives who must be disappointed by the results, not originalists. I see no indication whatsoever that Roberts is inclined to venerate text over precedent (quite the opposite, in fact), and very little that Miers will.

In short: I'm not saying that she's a Souter. I'm saying, as noted supra, she has all the appearences of a Kennedy: today a conservative, who chooses conservative results and finds a plausible rationale - but in ten years, fifteen years, twenty years, who knows what results she might prefer. By contrast, I feel very confident in saying that in twenty years, Clarence Thomas will still be ruling essentially the same way, even if his personal proclivities have changed, and if Scalia can hold out that long, so will he.

vbspurs said...

Isn't it easy to imagine a situation where Bush nominates a mildly (not criminally) sycophantic underling who has always presented her 'best' face to her beloved boss, while, lawyer-like, keeping to her self the vicissitudes of her subtler legalistic thoughts? She may, as she learns to be a judge, arrive at opinions that do not come anywhere near her Boss's expectations.

From everyone I've spoken to that has dealt with this President, he has a very low threshold for tolerating phoniness.

Harriet Miers is famous, apparently, for pulling in massive hours at her job(s), especially in recent years.

It's of course inevitable, seeing as how she has no family life to divide her time (the simple recipe for success many career women choose not to have).

And she's it's not a question of leaning, etc.

It seems to me the height of illogicality to imagine that someone is who lead counsel in choosing judicial nominees for the President, is herself somehow philosophically suspect, or has not tipped her hand, JUST YET.

Come on now.

I'm willing to believe a lot more that she's not overly qualified to sit on the SCOTUS, than she's not going be a Conservative Justice.

What a genius move this is. All the wrong persons are up in arms!

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

In short: I'm not saying that she's a Souter. I'm saying, as noted supra, she has all the appearences of a Kennedy: today a conservative, who chooses conservative results and finds a plausible rationale - but in ten years, fifteen years, twenty years, who knows what results she might prefer. By contrast, I feel very confident in saying that in twenty years, Clarence Thomas will still be ruling essentially the same way, even if his personal proclivities have changed, and if Scalia can hold out that long, so will he.

Whether or not I agree with it, this thought is very well argued out.

Cheers,
Victoria

amba said...

Gerry said "if/when the ABA rates her 'unqualified'" . . .

What is the likelihood that the ABA would find the past president of a state bar association unqualified? (I'm asking sincerely, not sarcastically; I really don't know.)

Richard said...

Matt said, "If she's deemed unqualified by the ABA, then I would think and hope that the nomination would go down in flames."

Are you kidding? Conservatives loathe the ABA, and it looks as if the Dems are mostly in line to vote for her already. If the ABA disses her it will help her with conservatives who will circle the wagons knowing the ABA is a liberal hack organization anyway. She really needs to be worried about, not hoping for, a glowing ABA endorsement.

ECS said...

From everyone I've spoken to that has dealt with this President, he has a very low threshold for tolerating phoniness.

how on earty coud hew tell? there is not an authentic corpuscle in his body!!!