Harriet Miers: Upon Further Review, Still Mediocre
The early reaction of conservatives to the Harriet Mier nomination ranged from underwhelmed to angry. After some time to weigh additional evidence and get beyond the hasty initial impression, the reaction is unchanged.
The Supreme Court of the United States is no place for B+ picks. It’s a place for A+ picks. This is the big leagues. Decisions that affect millions of lives are made routinely by this Court. Over the last 40 years or so, those decisions have consistently devalued life while endorsing an ever more expansive role for the federal government. You don’t bring the Constitution back from Exile with your B team; you bring your A team to that fight.
Handed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to return the Supreme Court to constitutionalism, George W. Bush passed over a dozen of the finest jurists of his day — to name his personal lawyer.
[H]er qualifications for the Supreme Court are non-existent. She is not a brilliant jurist, indeed, has never been a judge. She is not a scholar of the law. Researchers are hard-pressed to dig up an opinion. She has not had a brilliant career in politics, the academy, the corporate world or public forum. Were she not a friend of Bush, and female, she would never have even been considered.
Look, maybe Miers is supremely qualified — I’m sure the hearings will reveal something about her competence at jurisprudence. However, a glance at her cv — and those praising her accomplishments — suggests that beyond not having ever served on a bench, she appears to have held no other job of parallel legal distinction. Would Miers ever be an answer to any legal question that starts, “Name the top nine lawyers who _____” — besides serving George W. Bush for an extended period of time? In a post-Katrina environment, that dog won’t hunt.
Lawrence Solum quotes Alexander Hamilton from Federalist 78:
To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.