Monday, October 10, 2005

Mad about Miers: Disharmony on the right, caution on the left

Update:

Right Wing News has conducted a survey of 79 "right-of-center" blogs on the Miers nomination. The results:

1) Do you think George Bush made:

A) A good or excellent decision in selecting Harriet Miers as a nominee for the Supreme Court? (9% --7)
B) A bad or terrible decision in selecting Harriet Miers as a nominee for the Supreme Court? (49% -- 39 responses)
C) A so-so decision? (20% -- 16)
D) I'm not sure yet. (22% -- 17)

2) Has the decision to select Harriet Miers:

A) Made you view George Bush more favorably? (4% -- 3)
B) Made you view George Bush less favorably? (53% -- 42)
C) Neither? (33% -- 26)
D) I'm not sure yet. (10% - 8)

3) Would you prefer that George Bush:

A) Continue to support Harriet Miers? (41% -- 32)
B) Withdraw the nomination of Harriet Miers? (34% -- 27)
C) I'm not sure yet. (25% -- 20)

4) If the Harriet Miers nomination is not withdrawn by President Bush, then at her confirmation hearings, would you prefer that Republican Senators:

A) Vote to confirm Harriet Miers? (33% -- 26)
B) Vote against Harriet Miers? (34% -- 27)
C) I'm not sure yet. (33% -- 26)

Who'd have thought that Bush could have split the right so effectively? Well done, Mr. President.

(My friend Pieter Dorsman at Peaktalk was one of the respondents. His view: "Bush made a poor decision in nominating Harriet Miers." But he's standing by the president and doesn't think the nomination should be withdrawn.)

**********

Some conservatives, like those at Power Line, seem to be circling the wagons, reversing initial hostility to the Miers nomination -- whether out of blind loyalty or out of a recognition that Miers is actually one of them (which seems to be what Dobson is saying in his vaguely cryptic way). Others, like the Journal's John Fund, are going the other way:

I interviewed more than a dozen of her friends and colleagues along with political players in Texas. I came away convinced that questions about Ms. Miers should be raised now--and loudly--because she has spent her entire life avoiding giving a clear picture of herself. "She is unrevealing to the point that it's an obsession," says one of her close colleagues at her law firm...

Conservatives shouldn't care about her personal views on issues if they can convince themselves that she agrees with Chief Justice John Roberts's view of a judge's role: that cases should be decided the way an umpire calls balls and strikes, without rooting for either team. But the evidence of Ms. Miers's views on jurisprudence resemble a beach on which someone has walked without leaving any footprints: no court opinions, no law review articles, and no internal memos that President Bush is going to share with the Senate.

Fund presents a long list of reasons to doubt Miers's conservative credentials and qualifications for the Court. I don't mind her lack of conservative credentials for her lack of qualifications is indeed troubling. Either way, she's an unknown, and that should worry liberals as much as conservatives. Yes, she could turn out to be another Souter, but she could just as easily turn out to be a lightweight justice pushed to the right by colleagues and clerks alike. Similarly, she could turn out to be a pragmatist like O'Connor, but she could just as easily turn out to be a partisan hack without the experience and judicial philosophy to stand firm against those who would try to influence her.

**********

Around the right-wing blogosphere:

Professor Bainbridge is still "so disappointed in Bush".

The Anchoress has some links to other right-wing blogs.

Confirm Them makes a solid case againt Miers (one I -- not a conservative -- would tend to agree with): "By choosing someone with such close personal ties to him and with qualifications that are, at best, marginal, the deference to the President’s choice and the presumption of confirmation are eroded, even to the degree that the burden of proof now shifts to the President to show that she is uniquely qualified for the bench and was not chosen simply out of personal loyalty. Without solid, concrete reasons to support her — reasons that apply specifically to her qualifications and temperament and not simply abstract, general arguments — she should be rejected."

Instapundit remains baffled by the whole thing: "More and more, I have to wonder what the White House was thinking with this. First of all, when you're already under fire for cronyism, and you nominate someone who's, well, a crony, you ought to be locked-and-loaded in terms of response. They weren't."

PoliPundit has done a Fund a switched sides: Information that has come out over the last week has caused me to believe she is not a conservative. So I’m changing my position: Harriet Miers should not be confirmed by the Senate.

And here's Captain's Quarters: "[T]he Democrats may want to rescue Harriet Miers from the clutches of the Republican base. They're delighting in the civil war that has erupted in the conservative ranks since her nomination, but the majority of them should realize that Miers will be the best nominee they can expect from George Bush. She may be a cipher, but she has some history of flexibility on affirmative action during her political and legal career. Her lack of credentials also means that their normally apoplectic support base will not go crazy over her confirmation. Faced with replacements such as Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell, Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, and Edith Hollan Jones, they'll take Miers."

Will they? Maybe. We'll have to see how Democratic senators play this one. I agree that it's tempting to take Miers as the best that Bush has to offer, especially with so many conservatives doubting her conservatism, but I continue to worry about her lack of qualifications -- and it worries me both as a partisan (in this case) and as someone who cares about the quality of American government:

Miers may or may not be a conservative, but she does not belong on the Supreme Court. Period.

(See also The Heretik's round-up. And Joe Gandelman's latest at The Moderate Voice.)

**********

My previous posts on the Miers nomination (in chronological order):

Bookmark and Share