October 13, 2005

"They dream of Supreme Court justices capable of writing brilliant opinions that will reshape the battle of ideas."

And Harriet Miers is so vapid, so pedestrian. David Brooks writes of the pain this nomination has caused conservatives -- conservatives, as opposed to Republicans. Conservatives are those people who think that ideas matter.
Republicans, who these days are as likely to be members of the corporate establishment as the evangelical establishment, are more suspicious of intellectuals and ideas, and more likely to believe that politics is about deal-making, loyalty and power.
It's been interesting to watch the struggle between these two groups. Quite fun spectating for liberals and Democrats, isn't it?

(Sorry for the TimesSelect link. I presume Brooks is too.)

42 comments:

Guy Murray said...

I'm having fun, certainly cheaper than a movie--needs some popcorn though.

Guy Murray said...
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Menlo Bob said...

Brilliant opinions? Brilliant is necessary in order to convince someone that a bad idea is actually good. Wisdom seldom requires subverting commonsense.

The National Review crowd has convinced themselves of their suprior intellect and are fond of looking at themselves in the mirror. I no longer have patience for such preening.

Sloanasaurus said...

Liberals should be concerned. This is not a debate in the Republican party over issues or ideology. This is really only a debate about process. Miers supporters thinks they know enough about Miers to allow her on the court and that she will deliver conservative votes. The Anti-Miers group are skeptical and think there are more trust worthy candidates capable of delivering the conservative vote. Note, however, that there is no disagreement about the "conservate vote." among these two groups. Both Miers and anti-Miers conservatives agree on the vote that they want.

ziemer said...

sloanasaurus,

i don't think that's necessarily true.

what i WANT is a justice who believes in liberty to contract. i'm not going to get that, period.

so instead, i DEMAND a justice who's qualified and I HOPE that whoever that is nominated thinks lopez and morrison were correctly decided.

miers fails the qualification criteria; therefore, i consider it irrelevant where she stands on the commerce clause.

EddieP said...

Do the elites think it's a good strategy to embarrass the president? What's to be gained by all of this moaning? Do they want the president to grovel? First lady down on her knees? Are they going to show him who really runs the country? Do they actually believe they can force him to withdraw the nomination? How would that play around the world? I hope he sticks to his guns and says absolutely nothing else about this topic. He doesn't owe the people who are trashing him the time of day. Wonder how happy they'd be if they were gagging on Kerry's picks?

Let the hearings begin please!

ziemer said...

if kerry had been elected, and nominated someone qualified, i would, i am sure, be displeased with his choice, but i would not oppose it.

Too Many Jims said...

"He doesn't owe the people who are trashing him the time of day."

Spoken like a true lame duck supporter. Yep you're right though, why should conservatives care what Noonan, Kristol, Will, etc. think? It's not like they have done anything.

ziemer said...

jim and eddie,

i think the president owes a great deal to the "movement conservatives" who transformed this country from a left-wing wasteland into one in which an unabashed conservative could be elected president.

not that bush is an unabashed conservative, but he is a nominal one who coopted the label from us, so he kind of owes us something.

Ann Althouse said...

Please do not post links to blogs that copy the TimesSelect editorials. Obviously, if I approved of that I could do it myself! They want to wall off these writers, but bloggers can cut and paste and violate the copyright. Don't use my blog to reward those people. I'm trying to convince the NYT to tear down the wall, which I think they will have to do.

erp said...

I'm a conservative because unlike ideological clones on the left, I want to think through issues myself and come to what I think is the most logical conclusion, and I want no less from a supreme court justice.

That's why a person's character is more important than his or her opinion on Roe v Wade. I don't want abortion either legal or illegal by law. I want abortion taken out of public debate. I don't want a bunch of elected officials deciding issues that are better left to individual men and women who, with the help of their families and their physicians, can make the decision that's best for them.

Public opinion about abortion must be changed so that it's seen as a last resort not a casual method of birth control. Get rid of abortion clinics where women are actually encouraged to have abortions and never forget that abortion clinics are money-making businesses just like Exxon or Pfizer.

If abortion is removed as a leftwing talking point and Ted Kennedy can't deliver his rant about coat hangers and dark allies, we'll all be a lot better off and I think the number of abortions will steadily decline until only relatively few women will see it as the only solution.

Sloanasaurus said...

"....I don't want a bunch of elected officials deciding issues that are better left to individual men and women who, with the help of their families and their physicians, can make the decision that's best for them...."

Hmmm, you claim to be a conservative, yet you just posted a clear relativist leftist position.

Tell the truth. Is an unborn child a human with rights, or is an unborn child the property of its mother (who alone decides life or death).

Too Many Jims said...

"Tell the truth. Is an unborn child a human with rights, or is an unborn child the property of its mother (who alone decides life or death)."

Tell the truth Sloan, you want an activist court which will confer rights on "unborn children" and ban abortion in the U.S. If the "unborn child" has "rights" (I assume you mean a "constitutional right to life") then how can abortion in *any* state be permitted?

michael a litscher said...

I don't have any problem with Harriet Miers, other than the fact that she's an unknown quantity, and we're being asked to not only accept her, but support her based on trust.

As for qualifications, if she is willing to read and can comprehend - and most importantly, accept - the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, and the records of the Federal Convention, then she is qualified in my eyes.

That she isn't a Constitutional Intellectual doesn't bother me in the least; in fact I consider it a plus. I've had to suffer through enough literature courses to know that any teacher who fancies themself an intellectual feels compelled to see deeper meanings and stories than what is printed on paper, and down-grade those who don't.

The trouble with Harriet Miers is that we do not have a clue how creatively she may pervert, as others routinely do, large swaths of otherwise plain English in the Constitution in order to reach a preferred outcome.

For instance, will Harriet Miers some day down the road rule that the half-dozen tomato plants growing in my back yard, for my personal consumption, can and should be regulated under the interstate commerce clause? Absurd, you say? Substitute pot plants for tomato plants in the preceding sentence, and tell me her ruling would be identical. And once an intellectual has reasoned themself into regulating a half-dozen pot plants in someone else's back yard, stare decisis will allow the rest of them to go after the tomato plants in YOUR back yard.

To me, commerce is either interstate, or it's not. And if it's not, it's outside the powers granted the Feds by the Constitution to regulate it. An intellectual may be tempted to argue that intra-state commerce may have some indirect effect on interstate commerce, and therefore the Feds can and should regulate it, which is nothing more than creative perversion of truth.

I can't support her because I do not know her. "Trust me," doesn't cut the mustard. My only basis for opposing her would be that there are other candidates whom I do know, and who's rulings adhere, for good or ill, to the plain language written by our founders.

Thus far, I don't have enough information to either support her, or oppose her. Others may feel differently, and they are entitled to their opinion.

Sloanasaurus said...
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Sloanasaurus said...

"....Tell the truth Sloan, you want an activist court which will confer rights on "unborn children" and ban abortion in the U.S. If the "unborn child" has "rights" (I assume you mean a "constitutional right to life") then how can abortion in *any* state be permitted?

No. I want the state legislatures (or Congress) to decide if the unborn child has rights, i.e. Society needs to decide when an unborn person has rights.

IN 1973 the activist court decided for itself that the people can no longer decide when an unborn child should have rights. How democratic!

Hans Gruber said...
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Too Many Jims said...

"No. I want the state legislatures (or Congress) to decide if the unborn child has rights".

I see the point, but then wouldn't it be more accurate (not mention less emotionally charged) to ask about the State or legislature's right to govern the arena than to ask if an "unborn child" has "rights".

It is nice that you add in "Congress". Good to know that you are not one of those liars who says that this should be decided by the states.

Ann Althouse said...

Hans: I did copy a small part, the same amount I'd copy if there were no wall. That is "fair use."

pct said...

I am more drawn to Brooks's last sentence, "...a smart and good woman who has been put in a position where she cannot succeed." To me, this case is a perfect example of the limits of pragmatism. Lots of people, O'Connor herself and much more importantly Bush's wife, made it clear to Bush that they wanted another woman to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Bush, in his weakened political condition, wanted a quick, easy confirmation. He calculated that Miers was the best woman he could get whom the Senate Democrats would accept. That calculation worked out, as far as the Democrats are concerned, but look where it got him.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...It is nice that you add in "Congress". Good to know that you are not one of those liars who says that this should be decided by the states..."

Well, I wouldn't call them liars. There is a jurisdictional question about whether a congressional law would apply to the states.

Simon said...

Conservatives are the ones who thinks ideas matter? I don't think that's the case; it seems entirely to flattering to conservatives. It seems to me that the group noun for people who don't think ideas matter is "morons."

EddieP said...

Jim,

Bush and Rove have made a great team for many, many years. Why can't you wait and see? What's the bottom line? Are you trying to get the president to revoke the nomination? Are you out to embarrass the president and get him to backtrack because you don't like his pick? What specifically do you folks want the president to do at this time, and have you thought through the consequences of that action? Regards

Harkonnendog said...

"Conservatives as opposed to republicans."

This is similar to the Schiavo split, I think.

Instapundit vs. Hugh Hewitt.
BUT!
I think Michelle Malkin wanted to save Schiavo and she is against Miers so... maybe that doesn't work.
What's Peggy Noonan say?

Too Many Jims said...

Sloan,

Perhaps, "intellectually dishonest people" would have been a better term than "liars". The folks who I was referring to were the ones who say that they want states to make this decision and then push for a federal abortion law (e.g. partial birth abortion statute).

Eddie P.,

I did not vote for the President so I don't really care about the political consequences for him for his curious choice of a nominee. What I find odd is the notion that people like Noonan, Will, Kristol and others should "shut up". Even assuming that the pick is a great one from a conservative perspective, seems odd to tell these folks who have done much for the conservative movement that, in essence, they don't matter. I understood why he treated democrats like that, it befuddles me that he treats these folks like that.

Too Many Jims said...
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Gene C Evans said...

David Brooks is still writing? I thought he was retired.

Gene

EddieP said...

Hey Jim,

I did vote for the president, and I too was disappointed in his pick. I'm pretty certain that if you were to search Ann's archives you'd find that my choice was Janice R. Brown.

Now I may have been a little quick to slight Noonan and the others, but my question remains "What do they you want him to do now?" Everyone has their reasons to agree with or disagree with the president, I'm not proposing that they shut up, I just want to know now that the cat is out of the bag, what do they want to have happen now and why? Maybe they'll convince me as well. Regards

AN said...

As a centrist Democrat, I certainly think it's been an interesting spectacle. But I also think it's far healthier that the Democrats' approach to the Supreme Court.

Really, the only criterion most Democrats have had for Supreme Court justices for an entire generation has been to uphold Roe v. Wade, a position that has completely stunted any intelligent thought about Constitutional interpretation.

There's no particular reason that an originalist interpretation favors evangelicals, big business, and other Republican constituencies other than the fact that it upholds Roe v. Wade and some other dicey rulings from the Warren and Burger courts. If Roe gets overturned, both sides will simply have to fight the issue out in legislatures, just like any other political issue.

The current stunted thinking about constitution interpretation in my party seems to have been learned at the feet of Humpty Dumpty: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

Even this rather nasty spat amongst Republicans is a striking improvement.

Brando said...

It's been interesting to watch the struggle between these two groups. Quite fun spectating for liberals and Democrats, isn't it?

Indeed, the popcorn has been very tasty lately. Hilarious yet saddening how conservatives are discovering how un-conservative (read: radical) Bush really is. It was a faustian bargain for the Republican party to hinge its success on moblizing the right wing base into a faith-based froth.

reader_iam said...

Ann, regarding your post about NOT posting links to those who are cutting a pasting articles: you make an excellent point. And, along those lines, did you see how Instapundit handled that in a post about the Brooks column? He mentioned Brooks by name, but referred to NYT Select not by name, but in terms of something like "a subscription-only service." LOL! I thought that was kind of cool--refusing to publicize their name in terms of blocked output--even if coy.

erp said...

Sloanasaurus,

What I personally believe about when life starts is immaterial. However, since you asked, I think it starts at conception, but so what? Prior to Roe v Wade, unborn children had more rights, but women had fewer rights. Can't have it both ways.

People also forget that birth control was not only unavailable, but it was illegal to even talk about it. When I was a college freshman in 1952, the subject couldn't even be mentioned in a women's health class. It was only when the pill became widely available that birth control was spoken about openly.

That's why I think abortion should be taken out of the courts and the congress and left to individuals and I also think we need to get rid of abortions clinics and start a campaign to educate people about birth control and adoption.

vbspurs said...

I'm not too proud to link my blogpost today, about Conservatives/Republicans and the whole L'Affaire Miers, which echoes a lot of what you mention:

Strange Bedfellows

Warning: It's long, but as they say in academia, comprehensive.

Cheers,
Victoria

Sloanasaurus said...

"...That's why I think abortion should be taken out of the courts and the congress and left to individuals and I also think we need to get rid of abortions clinics and start a campaign to educate people about birth control and adoption....

Yes, I get your position. I respectfully disagree and think that society needs to decide when a child has rights. After all its society that decides for most other things.

In fact if the decision were left up to the people you would probably end up with abortion being legal in every state of the union with more restrictions then you have today.

vbspurs said...

Sloanasaurus, I've been meaning to say I like your avatar best of all here (Paul's chimp is another fave).

It's Gilbert's Washington portrait, right? Well one of them.

Cheers,
Victoria

Michael H said...

eddiep, why should conservatives be concerned about embarrassing the president? We're conservatives first, not Bush supporters first. Many of us have swallowed our tongues on one thing after another that we considered debacles - No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug bill, DHS, federalizing airport screeners, and a host of other non-conservative, big-government actions - all because we thought Bush "got it" about judges. If he doesn't even get why conservatives would be upset about a stealth candidate with a third-rate resume, what concern should we have about criticizing that?

EddieP said...

Michael H

You've given me a litany of issues you feel the president has let you down on. OK, those are your opinions and I'm not going to challenge you nor defend him.

I'm just asking specifically what it is you want the president to do now?

Its even OK if what you're trying to do is embarrass him for his past transgressions. I just want some one to tell me what the goal or desired outcome is for this protest from here forward? Maybe there isn't a desired outcome, but only a chance to rant in the echo chamber. However, the pundits seem to be working overtime and maybe I'd join them if I understood simply where it is they want Bush to go or do now. Regards

DNR Mom said...

Ann: Can you link to newspapers that carry the NYT "select" columnists? Both Madison papers carry one or more, incl Maureen Dowd & David Brooks.

Sloanasaurus said...

Thanks Vbspurs. Good Guess. It is Trumbulls Hamilton. How about yours?

I enjoyed your blog. I added to my list. You also inspired me to update my profile.

ziemer said...

eddie p,

you raise some good points.

i don't really know what bush should do now, to be honest.

all i know is we will no longer put up with him pretending to be one of us.

Michael H said...

eddiep, it's fairly simple what most conservatives want Bush to do now. First, exhibit some humility - his fatal flaw is stubbornness and inability to admit he was wrong - and admit, at least to himself, that this was a poor choice. Second, find as graceful a way as possible to withdraw the nomination and appoint someone who is supremely qualified to help roll back the last 40 years of left-wing ownership of the courts. Then fight for that person, and for a conservative agenda, for the three years he has left. Most presidents run into rough patches during their second terms. But if he handles this right, it could clear the decks for some real focus on what's important for the next 3 years.

vbspurs said...

Thanks Vbspurs. Good Guess. It is Trumbulls Hamilton. How about yours?

Giovanni Bellini's triptych hanging in the Accademia in Venice, which includes Santa Maria Maddalena, here pictured. :)

I enjoyed your blog. I added to my list.

I'm flattered, Sloanie.

You also inspired me to update my profile.

*looks*

The Road to Serfdom! A Hayek lover!

Good avatar. Great political instincts. Good taste.

This blog has the most perfect men on Blogosphere. ;)

Cheers,
Victoria