October 6, 2005

"I eagerly await the announcement of President Bush's real nominee to the Supreme Court."

Says Ann Coulter.


JSU said...


"But nominating a constitutional tabula rasa to sit on what is America's constitutional court is an exercise of regal authority with the arbitrariness of a king giving his favorite general a particularly plush dukedom. The only advance we've made since then is that Supreme Court dukedoms are not hereditary."

Brendan said...

Sorry, Ann, but Miers is no stalking horse. She's the real nominee. Sigh.

Jacques Cuze said...

Do we really know more about John Roberts than Harriet Mears? SNL doesn't think so.

Condoleesa said...

That is hysterical! I think most people just take EVERYTHING too seriously.

Troy said...

A factual query... When will Miers or whomever eventually gets confirmed take their seat -- immediately on confirmation? mid-term? Summer? Is there a policy on this?

Ann Althouse said...

Troy: Immediately on confirmation.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Professor A: I was on a national radio show today and I used your term "hyper-qualified" to describe the new Chief Justice. The host repeated it somewhat incredulously. I got on to say that I resent that now there's a "woman's seat" on the Court. If that's the case, for the sake of us women, Bush should've at least selected the *best* woman. Where is she?

stealthlawprof said...

Ruth Anne Adams -- My personal opinion is that the most qualified woman for the Supreme Court is sitting in Orangeburg, South Carolina; although a compelling case can be made for many, many others. The one given is that she has not been sitting in the White House Counsel's office.

I do think Coulter is wrong to pay so much attention to the law school Miers attended. It is not her SMU degree that makes her unqualified -- any more than Karen Williams's South Carolina degree or Diane Sykes's Marquette degree would make them unqualified. It is that in a thirty plus year legal career, Miers has never (1) litigated in front of the Supreme Court, (2) made an academic study of Supreme Court jurisprudence, (3) held a responsible position in the Department of Justice, for a major federal agency, or with a Congressional committee (personal lawyer to the President does not count), or (4) served as a federal judge.

ziemer said...


and she's never published a single article of any note, ever.

i agree with coulter's article, totally, although i do have an issue with her belittlement of smu.

as was noted earlier, diane sykes went to marquette, but i would consider her qualified, without question.

ultimately, though, coulter has it right. this is not a real nomination. i, too, "eagerly await the announcement of president bush's REAL nominee to the supreme court."

i can't take this nomination seriously.

aidan maconachy said...

I think Coulter would make a good supreme court judge. It would certainly liven them all up and make for energized debate.

Imagine trying to get that nomination passed. Harry Reid and Boxer would be sneaking in grenades and AK47's.

Miers is just boring. She comes across as a school administrator type ... good with schedules and curriculum.

Stormy70 said...

I like this pick, because she actually has to work for a living instead of spending time publishong articles that the real world never reads. Ann Coulter sounds like an elitist snob. Frankly, the Senate Republicans fold at the drop of a hat, and would not have fought for a Prisilla Owens or Janice Rogers Brown. Look how long it took to get them appointed the last time. They were filibustered, until the Gang of Fourteen struck the deal to get them on the bench.
I like Miers precisely because she is not a judge. And I love her for not being an acedemic scholar. Bill Gates found her qualified enough to hire.

brylin said...

There are two dominant wings of the Republican party: the business-low tax wing and the Religious Right wing. Roberts nomination satisfies the first; Miers may be a nomination aimed at satisfying the second.

On a related note, I find it interesting that the Wall Street Journal's Henninger today calls the Supreme Court "a political Colosseum." (I'd put in a link but Blogger apparently doesn't allow it.) I agree with this characterization of the Court. Whenever I read what I consider to be an outrageous Federal Court ruling (in the sense that it turns established precedent on its head) I google the judge and most of the time that ruling can be explained by determining who nominated that particular judge. I consider that to be the politicization of the judiciary. The "rule of law" is dead for matters in political controversy. And in its place we now have the personal politics of the appointee as the overriding determinant. Want some examples?

Goesh said...

My lovely Janice is vigorously nodding her head in approval...

Chocolate Bus said...

Ann Coulter said this
"I know conservatives have been trained to hate people who went to elite universities, and generally that's a good rule of thumb. But not when it comes to the Supreme Court."

Is she for real, Conservatives are all about elite Universities. Give me a break.

Pat Patterson said...

I am absolutely mystified at the conservative blogsphere's reaction to the selection of Harriet Miers. But then I realized that as a casual reader of blogs I had missed that this is not anger at the President's selection but rather the responses of people that did not have Ms. Miers on their Fantasy League Supreme Court. Do the League rules allow a retroactive draft?

bearbee said...

David Frum seems among other things to characterize Miers as being a ditherer....just not able to make a decision. Seems strange in someone having been made a company president......

(video -see Supreme Court)

In being a corporate litigator wouldn't she need to be thoroughly familiar with aspects of constitutional law?

John(classic) said...

Why do academics exalt credentials?

Most people consider credentials but only as a first glance indicator, much like one might choose the more appealingly labelled can of peas in the supermarket on the hope that the contents will comport.

Most people know, having been disappointed by advertising, that the label is but a weak and unreliable indicator, to be used when nothing else is available.

Not so with academics. The label is almost conclusively dispositive. Were a person with a degree from a small local university to apply to become a faculty member at law school the disability would be well nigh fatal -- no matter how demonstrated actual suitability. This unreasoned prejudice seems to become stronger rather than weaker with time.

Is this a guild mentality? Is it a reflection of the fact that academics deal with the abstract so that the value of their work is indeterminate?

Henry said...

"I am absolutely mystified at the conservative blogsphere's reaction to the selection of Harriet Miers."

I am absolutely mystified by the Democrats happy-go-lucky acceptance of Miers. She's totally inexperienced for the job, which should annoy everyone; her selection has the stench of cronyism, a Democratic talking point for lo, these past 5 years; and she's clearly a stealth attempt to get an anti-Roe vote onto the court. Of course, Bush and Miers have never talked abortion. But when the White House starts talking up her evangelical bona fides, what do you think they mean?

If Miers gets on and does go anti-Roe, Harry Reid is not going to want to answer his mail for a while.

aidan maconachy said...

I second the above. All of which adds to my view that Bush's second term has been a cop in a lot of different areas.

aidan maconachy said...

Kake that "cop out" :)

aidan maconachy said...

Okay I just woke up and still haven't had coffee. Read between the lines.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Henry -

A couple of response to your post:

I believe Harry Reid is pro-life.

I belive the Democratic Party is not famous lately for knowing what the hell it's doing.

However, I think that if Bush hadn't nominated a STEALTH candidate to oppose Roe, he would nominate an candidate who obviously will oppose Roe. So it's lose lose for pro-choicers here.

I think the gamble the Dems might try and make here is that Miers on the bench will be a permanent testament to Bush's weaker traits. She will be useful politically for years as a marker of the cronyism, arbitrariness, and narcissism of the Bush administration.

Also - since she is philosophically/academically uncompelling (no scholarly writings, etc.) she is probably a better bet (a weaker judge) than any of the heavy hitters (Luttig, Owens, etc.) who could have gotten the seat.

Also, by playing quiet and compliant in this phase, they force the Republicans to betray their leader and reject the nomination. They also avoid giving the Republicans an enemy to band together against.

Not saying any of that is good governance, but it's pretty good politicking.

John(classic) said...

Interesting background on why she may have gone to law school at SMU:

" Ms. Miers lived with her mother, Sally, and younger brother Jeb during her SMU undergraduate and law school years. Her father, Morris Miers, suffered a stroke during her freshman year, leaving the family in financial straits.

Concerned that she couldn't afford to keep her daughter in school, Ms. Miers' mother telephoned SMU President Willis M. Tate, seeking help, said the nominee's brother, Robert Miers. The president arranged a scholarship and job for the student at the university's campus computer center, Mr. Miers said. "Harriet and the family are grateful to this day." "


Simon said...

I like Miers precisely because she is not a judge. And I love her for not being an acedemic scholar. Bill Gates found her qualified enough to hire.

Two things here. First, Gates hired her as a lawyer, not a judge. The two are very different; they have very different skillsets and they have diametrically opposed mindsets. A pastry chef may be the most skilled pastry chef in all of Christendom, the first call when in need of a patry chef - yet you wouldn't hire him as a mechanic, even though that, too, involves working with his hands.

You accuse critics of elitism, but your comments reek of anti-intellectualism; you like the nomination because she has never been a Judge? Because she has never been a scholar? What possible logic undergirds such statements? It's like saying that you want to be operated on by a heart surgeon, but you want one who has never been in an operating room, and who has never studied cardiology.

John(classic) said...

Simon said:
"Two things here. First, Gates hired her as a lawyer, not a judge. The two are very different; they have very different skillsets and they have diametrically opposed mindsets."

Were that true, doesn't it argue that judges ought not be lawyers?

Simon said...

"Were that true, doesn't it argue that judges ought not be lawyers?"

If all judges were equal, it might be. If Miers were put on a district court, and demonstrated that she could not learn the new skillset and mindset involved, then her mistakes would be fixed by the court of appeals. If she were put on a circuit court, and demonstrated that she could not learn the new skillset and mindset involved, her mistakes could be corrected by the supreme court or a hearing en banc. If she is put on the supreme court, and cannot learn the new skillset and mindset involved, who corrects her mistakes?

me said...

I think she is a bad pick because she is inexperienced. However, the likelihood that she alone will be the cause of a poor decision is zero. She needs four others to sign off on any opinion.

Simon said...

"However, the likelihood that she alone will be the cause of a poor decision is zero. She needs four others to sign off on any opinion."

...And conveniently, there will be not only four, but five others on the cout who habitually reach poor decisions, three of whom were nominated by Republican Presidents who said "trust me." After Souter, we said "never again"; the supporters of Miers are saying "look, that was then; this is different! 'Never again' schmever again; let's spin the wheel one more time!"

peter hoh said...

So if hell freezes over and her nomination is withdrawn, will we hear that the media done her wrong?

Instead of "hell freezing over," I guess I could have gone with "when pigs fly." Well, the scrambled letters are "pgski" which kind of mixes (and garbles) the metaphor, but I'm sure it means that I should have gone with "when pigs ski."

John(classic) said...

Pish posh, Simon.

We should be concerned about excellence at every level of the courts. We can't afford correcting all those lawyers, ergo, being a lawyer should be disqualifying.

They just don't have the Latin for the judging.

reader_iam said...

For what it's worth, I've been having a good time wading through this evaluation of the quality law school faculties:


And, no, not because I was looking for stuff about Ann (it's not about individual evals, as presented, anyway)! In response to discussions here and elsewhere about "elite" schools etc., I was looking for something that might be more nuanced than, say, US & World Report's ranking.

Where it gets really interesting is, after perusing the overall top-20 list (in which, btw, SMU is not included, but then again, most that are aren't Ivy League, at least as I've always understood that term), going under specific specialty areas and seeing what happens. Wow! Quite a shift, in some areas (UWis, for example, shoots up notably in Critical Theories--I didn't say I wasn't curious--and comes in a smidge above Yale. It appears to shine notably in this area, based on this tool).

I also noted that single faculty members can have a tremendous impact on rankings, based on the fact that faculty moves are noted and in some cases a point is made that a particular move can drop or catapult particular schools in the rankings.

So this elite school "thing" seems to be a bit more complex to me, at least if by elite you assume people mean the Ivies (not all of which even have law schools, after all).

This is what I love about reading blogs and other material and then shooting through the Web in search of some new information or insight. Who knew when I woke up this morning where I'd find myself headed later? I think this may be a significant reasons why bloggers blog--and why blog readers, well, read. What a sense of possibility. What a rush.

John(classic) said...

Beldar is both partisan and I think exaggerating abit in his review of Miers cases. But one ought read it:

Rob said...

Let us forget elitism, and think of it as a matter of probability. What are the chances one of the best qualified people to be a Supreme Court Justice would already have a personal relationship to the President? Remember, he has the resources to launch a job search more thorough than anyone else in the world. In my opinion, President Bush did not take his responsibility seriously. It has nothing to do with rooting for some favored candidate of the right.