My "Mellowing on Miers" post yesterday got so much attention that I feel I'm vulnerable to the accusation that I deliberately went negative to make an event out of returning to the fold. And since I haven't endorsed the nomination yet, you could even say that I'm dragging out the return so I can get attention more than once.
But that's not it at all. The doubts I expressed about Miers were exactly what I thought. I objected to her lack of engagement with the great issues and theories of constitutional law. I was acting like what I am: a conlawprof.
I know exactly how I arrived at a state of self-awareness and then a feeling of being distanced from this identity: I read a few too many messages from conlawprofs on the Conlawprof email list. I didn't read these messages closely. I'm too busy to read that much of what flows into my email in-box from this list, so no one who is actually writing on the list should take this personally, but the sense I was getting from the ongoing conversation was that conlawprofs are rather vain about their own line of work. They feel sure that constitutional law is what they do.
Accordingly, they -- we -- think Miers should be reading a lot of books and articles of the highly theoretical sort that win accolades in academia. The Senate Judiciary Committee should test her with questions about these books, and if she reveals she's never bothered with such things, we will know that she is not worthy to hold a seat on the Court and have the power to decide what the Constitution means.
It was the mindset of the conlawprof -- my own mindset -- that repelled me and made me look again at what Harriet Miers is.