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Miers, pro and con

I know everyone else is linking to this, but I'm going to do it again anyway, just because it's so on target.

Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption -- perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting -- should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due.

It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.

He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.

Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked -- to ensure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance that he would be asked -- whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."

If George Will is this scathing in his assessment of the Miers nomination, dare I begin to hope that there is at least a chance of blocking it?

Meanwhile, in the pro-Miers camp, John Cornyn is guilty of what I like to call the "Hatch fallacy."


I'm beginning to think that Karl Rove really is a genius:

1) George Bush has nominated a candidate to which no fundie or ultra-pro-lifer can possibly object, so he automatically gets points for trying from that corner of the base, no matter what the outcome;

2) If Harriet somehow slips through the confirmation process, then Bush has fulfilled all obligations to seat an unequivocal strict constructionist, pro-lifer on the supreme bench and the next judicial nomination is wide open;

3) If, as is likely, Harriet gets axed in the Senate...well, Bush gave it the good old college try and how can you hold him responsible for what happens in the Senate? And...oh by the way, let me introduce you to Judge Janice Rogers Brown -- I'll just follow along in this confirmation with my copy of the transcript from the Miers confirmation handy.

For the White House, winning is winning, and losing would be nothing more (or less) than a deferred victory.

WF, I'm prayin' for scenario 3. Right now I don't want to get my hopes up, but if it plays out that way, I'll do a big-ass mea culpa. ;-)

I still don't think Bush would put a longtime friend through the confirmation meat grinder just to be the sacrificial lamb.

The whole issue with the Miers nomination is very very simple. Bush (and Karl Rove) does NOT want Roe v. Wade overturned. If he did he would had simply nominated a real conservative. He had the power to get such a person thru confimration.

The reason Karl Rove does not want Roe v Wade overturned is very simple. 65-70% of the country is pro-choice. If the republicans use their power and overturn Roe v Wade they will be perceived by the majority of the country as extremists and will loose elections for many years to come.

So the reality is very simple. Bush made a purely political decision. He is not as principled as many conservatives thought he was.
In fact, he is not even a conservative. He is just another politician.

If if is a strategy, and Harriet is in on the joke, then there probably won't be all that painfull. It can't be that much worse than working in the White House meat grinder.

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