October 6, 2005

What should Democrats do about Harriet Miers?

A free TNR link:
Liberals right now seem content to watch conservatives fight it out with one another over Miers's nomination and quietly hope that Senate Republicans, despite their reservations, lack the guts to cross the White House and vote against her nomination.

But they should oppose her too!

UPDATE: I've fixed it now so the link is free. Sorry for not doing it right before.

22 comments:

carla said...

Why should liberals oppose her? So Bush can nominate one of the heinous conservatives pretend constructionists?

No thanks.

The Tiger said...

I think it depends on whether a person thinks that justices should be there based on some level of intellectual firepower, or that they should provide a "safe" vote on certain issues.

And that divide crosses party lines...

EddieP said...

Maybe they'll come to oppose her during the hearings, maybe not. But that's time enough for all sides to be heard, there's certainly no reason to get out front.

Bush will not withdraw the nomination until he is beaten in the hearings. Just have to chill 'til then.

Simon said...

Eddie-
Bush will not withdraw the nomination until he is beaten in the hearings. Just have to chill 'til then.

Look to the example of the John Bolton fiasco. If she is beaten in the Senate, I don't think Bush will withdraw her, I think he'll use a recess appointment. It isn't enough to just defeat her on the Senate floor; Bush has to realize he has made a mistake and withdraw the nomination voluntarily, and any strategy which aims to defeat her by any other means is simply misguided and ignores evidence of how Bush reacts to criticism.

I am increasingly heading towards opposing this nomination outright, because I simply don't think there is any evidence that she could offer at her hearings which would address my concerns. In the absence of a judicial record, to convince me would take a paper trail, and it was for want of precisely this that she was nominated.

For this reason, I'm going to apply a reverse Althouse test: unless staggering, conclusive and irrefutable evidence appears to demonstrate that Miers is not what she appears - someone with no strongly-established judicial philosophy and constitutional theory - any GOP Senator who votes for Miers is disqualified from my support in the 2006 elections and the 2008 primary. Any GOP Senator who votes against her will get a campaign contribution.

Jacques Cuze said...

But they should oppose her too!

Why?

whit said...

Geez people! Do you always subscribe to "shoot first and ask questions later?"

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: I endorse the "reverse Althouse test." I want real judges. The standard works both ways.

Quxxo: Did you read the article? Democrats should oppose her because they should want to preserve the quality, credibility, and independence of the judicial branch. No President should be permitted to subvert the judiciary to his ends. The appointment power should not be abused, and principled Senators are the ones who oppose that abuse. It's an abuse of the confirmation power to sit back and allow an unqualified person to be given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Whit: I've been waiting since Monday for some substance. None is forthcoming, and it is important to demand it. I think it's fair to assume by now that none exists.

Meade said...

But they should oppose her too!

Why?


Isn't it hard enough being a liberal these days without also tagging yourself with liberal-who-tacitly-accepts-mediocrity?

John(classic) said...

Let me get this straight. It is insufficient to merely have practiced law, earned the plaudits of the attorneys you appeared against and the judges you appeared before, left a paper trail of your professional ability and temperament, you must have a coherent judicial philosophy in writing before you can be a Supreme Court justice. Mere testimony to it as in Robert's case is inadequate, it must be in published materials.



Pray tell which Supreme Court candidates met this standard? Offhand the only one I can think of is Bork. Posner if nominated would fit the bill.


Or would this published judicial philosophy have to be congruent with yours?

Aaron said...

Umm - call me crazy but is genius level thinking an absolute necessity? Is hard work, attention to detail, and a point of view sufficient? Why is an academic type of intelligence way way way above the norm necessary? This is only true if you have to re-invent the wheel up on the supreme court. With hundreds of years of precedent and a ton of groundwork laid why do we need that caliber of intelligence? Isn't that type of mind apt to get up to lots of hijinkery whith who knows what impacts on the rest of us? It seems like other qualities and a merely decent mind could be enough to do a very credible job. I am no fan of this appointment for political reasons - but why is there a need for greater academic style intelligence up there on the supreme court than at any other high caliber position? I honestly would like to know.

Ms. Althouse - you work at a second tier university - I don't know your total resume but are you more accomplished than HM? You are certainly smart but are you one of the top constitutional lawyers in the country? If you were nominated I'd still be happy with much of what you would bring to the court. I managed to insult and compliment you at the same time. Sorry and you are welcome.

Ann Althouse said...

Aaron: I have repeatedly said on this blog that I don't consider myself qualified! (But UW is considered a first tier school.)

Simon said...

John -
Let me get this straight. It is insufficient to merely have practiced law, earned the plaudits of the attorneys you appeared against and the judges you appeared before, left a paper trail of your professional ability and temperament, you must have a coherent judicial philosophy in writing before you can be a Supreme Court justice. Mere testimony to it as in Robert's case is inadequate, it must be in published materials.

Correct. I opposed Roberts' confirmation, too.

Jacques Cuze said...

I understand that you don't like her. and why.

I don't understand why you feel Roberts was anymore qualified than Miers. I understand they went to differently rated schools and one seems to have had a more prestigious career than the other.

But come on, the Republican Party has been the vanguards of a cultural revolution against knowledge and academia for years and years now.

You don't like what you are harvesting? You reap what you sow for heaven's sakes!

Why should the democrats take point on this? If the democrats are involved with ousting Miers, when the next candidate comes up (and in 2006 and in 2008) will YOU and Coulter be pointing out that it was the Republicans that didn't want Miers, or will you and she be crying that Democrats are the party fillibustering the nomination?

You reap what you sow. Enjoy the harvest of natural consequences.

Jacques Cuze said...

Actually, Ann could not be nominated for the Supreme Court. It's her blog you see.

This is one of the reasons that I encourage all right-wing professors and judges to have blahgs. It keeps them off the high court as well as letting students know what they are buying.

Jacques Cuze said...

No President should be permitted to subvert the judiciary to his ends. The appointment power should not be abused....

This is a pretty strong charge. It sounds like political corruption. It sounds like a high crime to me.

Are you calling for Bush's impeachment? If not, why not?

Answer.com: Legal Dictionary: high crime
n.

A crime of infamous nature contrary to public morality but not technically constituting a felony; specif An offense that the U.S. Senate deems to constitute an adequate ground for removal of the president, vice president, or any civil officer as a person unfit to hold public office and deserving of impeachment

political corruption

This article is about political corruption. For other uses, see Corruption (disambiguation)

In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse of public office for private gain. All forms of government are susceptible in practice to political corruption. Degrees of corruption vary greatly, from minor uses of influence and patronage to do and return favours, to institutionalised bribery and beyond. The end-point of political corruption is kleptocracy, literally rule by thieves, where even the external pretence of honesty is abandoned.

Corruption arises in both political and bureaucratic offices and can be petty or grand, organized or unorganized. Though corruption often facilitates criminal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and prostitution, it is not restricted to these activities. For purposes of understanding the problem and devising remedies, it is important to keep crime and corruption analytically distinct.

Depending on the country or jurisdiction, what constitutes or does not constitute corruption may differ. For instance, certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another.

Conditions favorable for corruption

* Concentration of power in decision makers who are not directly accountable to the people as often seen in non-democratic regimes.
* Lack of government transparency in decision making.
* Costly political campaigns, with expenses exceeding normal sources of political funding.
* Large amounts of public capital involved in a project.
* Self-interested closed cliques and "old-boy" networks.
* Weak rule of law.
* Weak legal profession.
* Minimal freedom of speech or freedom of the press.
* Poorly-paid government officials.
* Apathetic, uninterested, or gullible populace that fails to give adequate attention to political processes.
* Absence of adequate controls to prevent bribery or so-called "campaign donations."

Jacques Cuze said...

Clarence Thomas apparently served as a judge only for about a year -- 1990 -- 1991. How much more qualified was he than Miers?

Ann Althouse said...

Quxxo: Thomas was A LOT more qualified. He went to the best law school in the country, he headed the EEOC, he was federal appeals judge, and notably he had shown a strong interest in constitutional interpretation, giving impressive presentations about originalism, inspiring respect for his ability to excel in the position he was nominated for. Miers has none of that. I've said numerous times that it isn't the lack of judicial experience that bothers me. Read some of my many posts. I am not outcome oriented in this. Read my NYT op-ed: I said I admired both Roberts and Breyer. So don't lump me in with the pro-lifers and right wingers. I care about the institution of the courts. Something is very wrong here.

Jacques Cuze said...

Thank you for your response. By the way, the TNR article is not free, it is asking me to subscribe.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, quxxo, I did it wrong and wouldn't have noticed. I've fixed it now.

downtownlad said...

Shouldn't we wait to hear from her first? Maybe she's brilliant, who knows?

Also - Bush is not exactly the brightest bulb, so why can't he appoint a Justice with similar mediocre qualities? I mean surely it's more difficult to be President than a Supreme Court Justice? And I would bet a lot of money that Harriet Miers is a hell of a lot smarter than Bush. And the American people seem pretty satisfied with the Bush Presidency, having just re-elected him.

But I withhold judgment until she testifies.

Henry said...

Why should liberals oppose her?

Well if I was a Senator and had been critizing the White House for the last five years for sending nominees to the hill without providing their full record, I would be outraged. Frankly, for Bush to pick an unknown with no experience and no paper trail and then ask the Senate to advise and consent is a slap in the face.

I think Biden and Schumer are biding their time. They know they can attack whenever they want to. My bet is that the Democrats will eventually oppose her, but they want her to get voted down, not withdrawn.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Ann said,

... don't lump me in with the pro-lifers and right wingers. I care about the institution of the courts.

Ann, of course there plenty of outcome-oriented pro-lifers. But there are many pro-lifers and right-wingers who are frustrated and disappointed with this appointment precisely because they care about the Constitution and the institution of the courts. And you know that if you read the comments on this blog. Your phrasing was ill-chosen and unfairly stereotypical.