October 9, 2005

"She needs more than murder boards. She needs a crash course in constitutional law."

Arlen Specter on Harriet Miers. ("Murder boards" are the practice sessions to prepare for the Senate hearings.)
Behind the scenes, Republican allies of the White House said they were trying to put together a public relations strategy to combat the mounting criticism over the Miers nomination.... They said the White House was working to assemble a dossier that would back up its case about Ms. Miers' record of accomplishment, her legal qualifications and her conservative credentials.
Oh, they are just now getting around to figuring out a strategy about how to support her nomination? How easy does Bush have to make it for his critics? The resonance with the usual arguments about lack of planning for Iraq, Katrina, etc., couldn't be more obvious.
Jim Dyke, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee who has joined the White House to help confirm Ms. Miers, said in an interview she was being seriously underestimated.

"President of the Texas bar association, president of the Dallas Bar Association, head of a major law firm, those are impressive credentials and they are being summarily dismissed," Mr. Dyke said. Asked about Mr. Specter's remark, Mr. Dyke said that as White House counsel, Ms. Miers already had "a mastery of the Constitution and constitutional law," and said she needed to do nothing more than any other nominee to prepare. He added, "There seem to be some unfair assumptions being made."
I love the way Dyke's first attempts at persuasion instantly undermine his credibility.
Several Republicans, including Mr. Specter, said they steered clear of asking Ms. Miers questions about constitutional law. Mr. Specter, who said the timing of the confirmation hearings would depend in part on when Ms. Miers felt ready, said he initiated a discussion of the shifting standards the Supreme Court has applied in interpreting the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, but only to illustrate to Ms. Miers the kinds of questions she would face during her hearings.

"I did not ask her about it because I don't think she's ready to face it at the moment," he said. "Look, the lady was White House counsel dealing with totally other subjects until Sunday night when the president offered her the job. And Monday she's sitting with me. I'm not going to ask her questions which she hasn't had a chance to study or reflect on."
But she has a mastery of constitutional law, I've heard.
One conservative advocate, Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, said generating enthusiasm for Ms. Miers was proving difficult because "anytime we put out something positive about her it gets shot to pieces by all our allies and the blogs."
Oh, the blogs! Keeping you honest, demanding credibility, dismantling specious arguments. It's a real pain, isn't it? You can't get even get your propaganda started these days.


krostitzer said...

Yeah, she needs to learn the gnostic secrets of finding penumbras and such, or how the enrichment of private developers is transformed into "public use".

alikarimbey said...

I am appalled at Brownback, KS senator.

Today on ABC, George Step-On-All-Of-Us, played a tape when Brownback said that if HM said that Roe was a settled law then he would not vote for her.

But, but, but, is this not what JR said in the foot-note to one writing and also on the hearing. He said that Roe was a settled law and to over-turn past SC decisions takes much work, etc. Brownback was satisfied then. Why not now?

Also, what is George Step. doing? Why cannot he asked about JR to Brownback?

Why is the media sleeping? Get Brownback. Take him down and take his WH thoughts in 08 down. NOW...


Joan said...

Why are you ragging on the administration because Specter declined to press Miers? Why aren't you ragging on Specter? IMO, Specter's the one who is being an idiot here, in thinking that Miers would not be able to handle such a question. If she can't, she's not qualified, and that's something we should be finding out asap.

These hearings can not start soon enough. All of this dithering is very annoying. Miers' resume is being discounted unfairly. I frankly think it would be a great thing to have someone with so much practical experience on the court.

John(classic) said...

What about admiralty law? What about civil procedure? What about patent law? What about criminal law? What about the problem with the District Court judge who seems to have Alzheimer's?

Though much of what the court does is termed "constitutional law", much isn't.

No person nominated can be expert in all, nor ought they be.

People need to do some serious thinking about what the qualifications for a Supreme Court justice ought be, before labelling her "unqualified".

Ann Althouse said...

John: Yes, it isn't said enough, but a lot of the work of the Supreme Court is not constitutional law. Still, it is the constitutional law decisions that can't be varied by the democratic process, so there is reason for all the attention to them.