October 10, 2005

Bloggers on the Miers nomination.

Right Wing News polled 79 "right of center" bloggers (including me) about the Miers nomination. Here are the results.


nina said...

Did you vote b for no. 4?

Nick said...

You're right of center? Huh.

Ann Althouse said...

Nina: I voted b for everything but 4. I voted C for 4. If it goes to the hearings, we need to judge based on that new information.

Nick: It's not my classification, it's Right Wing News's. The left is exclusionary, the right is inclusionary -- when it comes to me, at least.

Paul said...

A lot of ambivalence present among the voters 20 to almost 50%.
I'm writing this and just saw Sen. Lindsay Graham endorsing Ms. Miers - well, that's the death knell for her as far as I'm concerned. A snake came from under his rock.
Back to the poll, the right is in disarray.

JoeOlson said...

Right of center? I am just curious, you were my con law I and civ pro II professor when I was in law school. I had absolutely no idea what your politics were - actually that was one of the things I liked best about your classes.

Ann Althouse said...

Joe: You can form your own opinion by reading this blog. I keep calling myself a moderate, but people on both the left and the right keep insisting on putting me on the right -- largely because I've supported various national security efforts and voted for Bush because of that. I support various liberal things, including abortion rights and gay rights, but that doesn't seem to affect where blogospherians see you. I do avoid having a political position in class (which is easier for me than having to take a position!). When I've gotten evaluations from students who say they could tell what my politics are, I've always wondered what they thought they were!

Charles said...

In any case, certainly not a ringing endorsement of Meirs.

Art said...

I chalk Miers up as a classic Karl Rove judo play.
By putting up someone whose only defense to charges of unclear ideology is that she's a "good, evangelical Christian," Rove knows Dems can, of more correctly will, only attack her by attacking her religion...thereby driving voters to the Republican party in droves.
It may not make her a good justice but it will do wonders for the permanent Republican majority.

Too Many Jims said...

I am not sure which is a more tired "truth": the one supported in some parts of the right that Karl Rove is a genius or the one supported in some parts on the left that he is the devil incarnate.

If democrats decide to oppose her and they rest any of their argument on the fact that she is an evangelical christian, they are beyond stupid (not saying it is not possible) when they have much better available reasons. Namely, that she appears woefully underqualified in light of the Roberts nomination and she is a crony.

Plus, by putting up someone whose only defense to charges of unclear ideology is that she's a "good, evangelical Christian," poses problems for the coaltion that has put Republicans in power.

First, by saying this is the first one of "us" on the court in x number of years, it lays bare a bit of anti-catholic sentiment. What Scalia and Thomas aren't good enough for you? (Lest you think I am making this up: http://www.professorbainbridge.com/2005/10/the_faith_card.html) I think, ultimately, that this is pretty minor and the Catholics will be kept in the tent as long as leading evangelicals keep their anti-catholic bigotry under wraps.

More importantly, there are a number of people who supported Bush who are not very religious but agreed with him on fiscal (mainly tax) policies and/or war on terror issues. Some of the more libertarian leaning among this group are not thrilled with some aspects of Republican social agenda (e.g., do we really need to be spending DOJ resources on a war on adult porn?). Some of these people may be ostracised by the elevation of someone who's sole credential is being an evangelical christian.

vnjagvet said...

I was particularly interested in the poll's results. They seem to be more favorable to Miers than the impression one gets reading comments on the "right of center".

I am encouraged that the plurality seems to be in favor of giving Miers the chance to prove her mettle in the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

That seems to be a most prudent judgment.

magemom said...

Now, if 69% say her nomination is a "bad or terrible idea" or only a "so-so" idea, and only 9% say it's a "good or excellent" idea, why do 33% say that she should be nominated anyway? I understand people waiting to hear what she says at her confirmation hearings, but why would 33% support her unequivocally at this stage? Do these people trust Bush that much? Foreseeably bad or so-so nominees don't belong on the Supreme Court, at least not when there are better alternatives.

Goesh said...

-and my lovely Janice waits with baited breath and beating heart in the wings, her lips moist, a demure, sensual glaze to her eyes as she reflects on the royal plumage she has neatly tucked away in her closet at home to be worn and flaunted after work for family and servants to see- she can feel the vibrant hues with their touch of real African splendor - she envisions rushing into Ruth's chambers to humble her with the raging colors, bringing from her spinster lips a slight but audible gasp of jealousy - her hand trembles as she anticipate the historical call from George...

VietPundit said...

Right of center? Speaking as a Righty, to me you're not Righ, or Left, or even Centrist or Moderate: you're an independent thinker who's completely non-partisan, which is why I like this blog. It just happens that you support the Iraq War, which is the most important issue to most Righties at the moment. That's why the Right tends to embrace you (and ignores your other liberal positions), and the Left rejects you.

tcd said...

Jim says, "More importantly, there are a number of people who supported Bush who are not very religious but agreed with him on fiscal (mainly tax) policies and/or war on terror issues. Some of the more libertarian leaning among this group are not thrilled with some aspects of Republican social agenda (e.g., do we really need to be spending DOJ resources on a war on adult porn?). Some of these people may be ostracised by the elevation of someone who's sole credential is being an evangelical christian." Oh Jim, you are sooo right on target with this comment. You should post this comment in the thread in Ann's earlier post re defending Miers and digging a deeper hole. Brent apparently thinks the rest of the Republican coalition can go to hell if they don't like the Miers nomination because President Bush and the Republican party belong to evangelical christians.
As for this Bush supporter and contributor, the RNC will never get another red cent from me and they can forget about my vote in 2008 if they don't run Rudy Giuliani or someone like him.

Osvaldo said...

Oh, brother, TCD.

Lots of religious folks (moi) aren't too thrilled about HM. If you ask me, its pretty clear that she's a crony pick and the whole religion thing is just a desperate attempt to get support for her, not the reason she was nominated in the first place.

Look, if you insist on a party that excludes social conservatives, fine, just as long as you dont' insist on winning elections. It's all about coalition politics. What you fail to realize is that the core of the GOP is both pro-Iraq and fiscally conservative and socially conservative, and asking people to set aside part of their identities because you don't like them is silly.

peter hoh said...

From a strictly political point of view, I don't think the Senate Democrats should make a big effort to derail this nomination. They have every right to ask tough questions during the hearings, but they should lay off the speeches. They can "get on board" if a small group of Republicans spearhead an effort to reject the nomination, but they must make it clear that the Republican dissenters are the driving force. If all the Republicans line up behind the President, the Democrats can just forget about making a big stink, because it will make them look bad.

At worst (for the Democrats) Miers simply becomes an extra vote for the Scalia/Thomas bloc, which is no worse than Owens on the bench. At best (for the Dems) she drifts left, which is something that an Owens would likely not do.

If the Democrats really want to undermine this nomination, they should send out a few stalwarts to start praising Miers. Imagine Al Sharpton saying that she's got his support, and there are things he knows that he's not at liberty to say.

Dean said...

Well, since they didn't ask me (not that I'm as well known as those other people I haven't heard of):
1.D How can we know if its a good decision or not before the hearings?

2.A Ole Dubya is even willing to take on conservatives to do what he thinks is right.

3.A If she's the friend he says she is, nothing else will do.

4.C Again, how can I know what I want them to do until I hear the hearings?

And, Ann, FWIW, I simply see you as one who speaks her mind.

alikarimbey said...

Yesterday, I post the Brownback double-standard here. No one followed up. Why no one saw what I saw on MTP is beyond me? I am a below-average pol.

Anyway, the CSM tomorrow focuses on Brownback's sudden litmus test for HM (which he DID NOT HAVE for JR, as I said yesterday).



Eli Blake said...


I don't get it. When the nomination first came out, you seemed to be blogging in favor of Miers. Other than her lack of judicial experience (a weakness, but not a fatal one, and one which was known right away), I'm not sure why (if my perception is correct) you have moved away from her.

Jim and Peter Hoh:

As a liberal blogger, I have said before and will say that I expect the majority of Senate Democrats will vote for Ms. Miers. Maybe even a bigger percentage than of Senate Republicans.

Miers is not the type of candidate that we on the left feared, and to derail her nomination would be really stupid, because it would give the President a chance to choose a hard core conservative. You may see a few Democrats from blue states vote against her for their own reasons, but I can guarantee you that if the Republicans split, there will be enough Democratic yes votes to confirm her.

I did see a story that Bush may have put out Miers' name precisely as a ruse to get Democrats to jump all over her, then withdraw the name and nominate someone like a Luttig or a Jones, and then if there was a filibuster and 'nuclear option' vote, to blame Democrats as 'they'd be against anyone, look at how they were against Harriet Miers.' If that was their thinking, then the left didn't bite, and they miscalculated badly.

John(classic) said...

First, thank you for your blog. I almost always find it interesting.

I am a retired lawyer. I have argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Two are often mentioned in Constitutional Law texts.

I think we are a little off to focus on ideology and politics. I also think we miss something by focusing on Miers in isolation.

I do not want a "great" Justice. I want a "great" Supreme Court. No single justice decides a case before the Court. The Court as a whole does.

Though I tend conservative, my "great" Supreme Court is not necessarily conservative. A great Supreme Court is one that has an open mind -- one that sees each case not just as the stuff to be pressed into another brick in a long running ideological argument, but as an individual question to be decided on its own facts and peculiarities of law. Cases are messy things and jamming them into ideological holes does damage. A great Supreme Court is one that has intellectual integrity -- its decisions are defensible as logical, honest outgrowths of the facts and law in the case. A great Supreme Court is one that decides matters clearly and forthrightly and thus provides guidance for lawyers and inferior courts.

What do I mean by an open mind and intellectual integrity? In one of my cases the concurring opinion started off :

"I join the opinion of the Court, but I add these comments to emphasize the narrow scope of today's decision."

and ends with:

".....the Court has been presented with another of those cases - "few in number...."

Those words are a tribute to the then existing Court -- the four judges who concurred opposed the result ideologically. Unwillingly, but honestly, they nonetheless reached it. I do not think that such opportunity for success is as open in today's Court.

In my opinion the present Court has two great failings. I suspect these are the result of the present emphasis on ideology and a near equal ideological split.

First, it cheats. It fails to discuss or consider facts that are inconvenient to its decisions. It ignores or silently redecides the trial court's findings of fact. This corrodes justice.

Second, it lacks clarity. Perhaps in order to attract a swing vote in the middle, its majority opinions are often vague, muddled, and internally contradictory. It is all too fond of various forms of "balancing" tests, and too often poorly defines them. Most disputes are settled without litigation because the lawyers and the parties have a fair idea of what the result would be if they litigated. Losing that certainty exacts a serious and real cost on society. It also gives increasing scope for unjust causes of outcome -- which trial judge was drawn, where the case was brought, what the decision of the U.S. Attorney was. Uncertainty does serious harm to justice.

I know very little about Harriet Miers. What I have read, however, suggests that she would bring several things to the Court.

First, she seems a detail person with a strong desire to grasp all the facts before deciding. Good for her. This court badly needs someone who could say at conference, "But what about the district court's finding at paragraph 113?" or would put in red ink on a circulated draft, "Contradicted by testimony at page 456 of the record". Attention to detail can both force the court to a greater intellectual rigor and to a more open mind.

Miers background suggests to me that she will also recognize that certainty, by itself, has a value to law that may be greater than ideological battle. The present court lacks this appreciation.

She also seems to have courage and self confidence. I appreciate a Justice who goes where her reason leads even if she ends up alone. I also appreciate the toughness suggested by a small lady who once plinked at tin cans with a .45 .

My two favorite modern justices, John Marshall Harlan II, and Hugo Black, were not themselves great justices. However, both made the courts they were on better courts. Harlan's intellectual integrity forced greater intellectual honesty on his brethren. Black forced them to come down from the philosophical towers of reasoning and look at what the Constitution said. He also taught that a straight reading of the Constitution was not only a shield against change, but a sword for personal liberty and civil equality.

As to qualifications : Harlan was a patrician that would meet every requirement of even the snootiest law school professor of the period. Black was an ill educated Roosevelt political crony of sordid and despicable background. Both became superb choices, not because they were great justices but because they made the Court better.

I think Miers could make this Court better. I look forward to learning more about her in the hearings. If we listen for ideology, I think we will all, left and right, be disappointed. If we listen for character I think we might all feel better about the nomination.

That's a bit more than two cents from an old fart.

Eli Blake said...

Nick and Ann:

I thought that Ann was leaning towards the right even before I knew who she voted for or why. (I came onto this blog shortly after Katrina). Granted, I'm a liberal, but on balance, this is a conservative blog.

But we aren't all being exclusionary. I recently added Ann to my blog links because she gives a lot to think about, even if it does tilt to the right.

Matt Ailey said...

Professor Althouse is incredibly moderate. That's why I'm addicted to her blog...