On Harriet Miers

Just to go on record (this is Stotch writing, not James), the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court of the United States represents the following:

* An insult to the American people
* An affront to any Constitutional scholar
* A dishonoring of the Supreme Court as an institution
* A repudiation of the founding fathers (see especially Federalist 76)
* A slap in the face to anyone who voted for George W. Bush

I guess if you combine a C student president, a D- congress, and a B+ court nominee, what you get is the complete failure of the Republican party to deliver on anything they promised but were well within their power to achieve. They have proven themselves to be as bad or worse than even the most liberal of Democrats.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , , ,
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Oh, com’on, Len.
    Have you forgotten the last few decades of complaining about the RINOS?

    Had it occurred to you the the votes simply are not there to try and push through a nomination you’d be pleased with?

  2. An Interested Party says:

    Awwww…you are disappointed in this president…how did you feel a few years ago about him? A letdown now, eh? Join everyone else…he’s finaly become the uniter he claimed he wanted to be…

  3. Jack Ehrlich says:

    What I understand from reading the Constitution is that the President gets to nominate who he thinks would be a suitable justice for the Supreme Court, and it is up to the Senate to either confirm or not, the nominee. The President is the one to decide if his nominee has the qualities he wants on the bench, the Senate decides if they are qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. The President stated during his most recent campaign what qualification he would consider, to name someone as a nominee. To think he would compromise those values is to not understand him. It appears to me, that the far right wanted the fight more than the nominee. If Bill Cristol(?) or Ann Coulter do not like the Presidents nominee, I suggest they run for his office, and when and if they win, they then have then have that choice. Simply put, it is not their jobs to make that choice. If they don’t like it, write about it, but remember, their credibility is at stake. She will be confirmed, and if she is what the President says she is, they will lose that precious credibility.

  4. whatever says:

    If everyone else is so pathetic then run for office instead of sitting behind a keyboard and bitching.

    I suppose it is the nature of blogging, but I am getting a little tired of armchair quarterbacks complaining about how everyone around them are so pathetic, so stupid, yada, yada, yada.

    Then again if bloggers are so great then how come one of your own is unable to make tenure to a professorship (Drezner)?

  5. whatever says:

    P.S.

    > An affront to any Constitutional scholar
    The average American cares because…

    > A dishonoring of the Supreme Court as an
    > institution
    The Court already did that to themselves with Roe, Kelo and lots in between. Most Americans have had it with the Supreme Court, no matter who gets nominated. Come out of your ivory tower.

  6. John Burgess says:

    I see absolutely nothing to get my nickers in a twist over this nomination. So Meirs may not be the brightest star in the Constitutional fundament… so what. Competence is what’s required, not brilliance.

    If you want brilliance, then read Scalia, or even better, Learned Hand, who never quite made it to the USSC. We don’t need nine brilliant justices. We do need nine competent justices. If a few of them are brilliant, then that’s fine; it’ll keep the blood flowing.

    I’m with Jack on this… burned out on political blogs that don’t really have anything to say, right or left. Bitching and moaning get tedious, fast.

  7. dougrc says:

    “We do need nine competent justices.”

    John, to tell the truth, I’d be ecstatic if we could get five. I think Miers will be interesting to watch as she establishes her voice on the court. Hopefully, she won’t be as prone to be a grandstander, since her whole life hasn’t been focused on rising to the next level of jurisprudence.

    I imagine she really will be more of what the founders had in mind. An honest, sober, successful citizen willing to serve at the Presidents request; not someone who has been standing in the queue waiting for the next number to be called.

  8. DL says:

    I can’t get gleeful and do battle for a “Will she or wont she morph?” candidate.

    Maybe I’ve been a Red Sox fan for too many years.

  9. Rodney Dill says:

    She’s an intelligent, competent Lawyer that obviously has the respect of the President.

    This is another case of left extremism where she is painted as a Jerry Springer audience wannabe just because she doesn’t fit for lefts agenda.

    From the example of the Clinton Administration we all know that Integrity and character, along with intelligence are more important than just sheer intelligence alone.

  10. bindare says:

    If Bush nominated a strong conservative with good credentils He would be filibustered and the Republican traitors in the gang of fourteen would vote to uphold that filibuster. What would we gain with a fight that we would lose except a President with reduced political stature and influence? What would we gain other than another talking point for the next election? Is it possible there is another candidate like Roberts and would the Left let another one pass?

  11. Bithead says:

    In looking at my comments, I realize I said it better at my place.

    Far right has spent the last several decades, complaining, and rightly, about the “Republicans in name only,” which exist within both houses of Congress. That is one reason why I find the complaints about Harriet Miers’ nomination to the USSC so amazing.

    One of the bigger complaints I see when you boil it down, is that the far right was spoiling for a ideological fight. The feel betrayed because Bush didn’t put up a candidate that they felt would elicit such a response in the Senate. They feel betrayed because they feel Bush backed away from a fight.

    Thing is… are we ready for such a fight? I don’t think so.

    Apparently these people have short memories. They forget that we have several within the Congress and in this case specifically the senate who fall into that category of “Republican in name only” and who will not vote, to override a democratic filibuster, at the least, or who will, more likely join in the “Borking” of any candidate that the far right would be pleased with.

    The President, therefore, is quite correct to back away from the fight this time. We simply don’t have the animation in terms of numbers. If we were to follow the right’s demands on this one we’d clearly not only lose the nominee, but the ideological fight as well, both by weight of sheer numbers.

    All that said, what I can gather from her history shows her a capable, and bright lawyer, with a good understanding of the constitutional constructionist point of view… and in fact, she’s in agreement with it. Which may make her a pretty fair choice in the end, anyway. I get the idea she’ll make all this argument a moot point.

    At which point I’ll be pleased to receive retractions from those calling for Bush’s head over her nomination.

    I have no worries about her at all.

  12. sgtfluffy says:

    If you were the President, would you really trust the Senate Republicans to fight for your Hardcore balls to the wall ultra conservative Nominee?

  13. Anderson says:

    Didn’t OTB commenters use to be, I dunno, smarter or something?

    I have never read such crap. There are quite a few brilliant conservatives out there who are superbly qualified for the Court. That Bush wouldn’t pick any of them, is an embarrassment to him.

    Just because the President places personal loyalty and subservience to his views, over jurisprudential ability, is no reason for anyone in the Senate to vote for his little pet.

  14. McGehee says:

    That Bush wouldn’t pick any of them, is an embarrassment to him.

    That’s been pretty much my take too.

  15. Rodney Dill says:

    Didn’t OTB commenters use to be, I dunno, smarter or something?

    I have never read such crap.

    After the following unqualified statement I would have to agree with the former statement.

    Just because the President places personal loyalty and subservience to his views, over jurisprudential ability, is no reason for anyone in the Senate to vote for his little pet.

  16. Bithead says:

    Anderson;
    We’re still smarter than you make us out to be.

    Have you never read Sun Tzu?

  17. Fersboo says:

    I’m an American; I’m a people; I am not insulted by the President nominating Miers.

    I would suspect that many did not know Roberts, just as many do not know Miers. I guess it will come down to the hearings to find out if Ms. Miers is truly compentent to sit on the USSC. If we take into account the behavior (rulings/published thought) of the segment of the population that served or are serving on the USSC and the Constituional scholars/pundits, I would think Ms. Miers is compentent enough.

  18. Anderson says:

    Bithead, I don’t agree that Miers is the best that Bush can get through a Senate with a 55-Republican majority.

    I just don’t think he’s interested in anyone who might have principles. Such a person might end up deciding whether or not the Executive Branch can order people tortured in contravention of Congress, or have U.S. citizens locked up indefinitely without habeas, and say “of course not!”

    On the latter, the President’s favorite originalist, Scalia, had no trouble figuring out what the Founders would’ve done.

    So what the President needs is an Executive Branch insider with a great personal debt to him and with no reason to think that she’d have any motivation in deciding cases besides furthering the Bush program. E.g., Harriet Miers.

    (If the Sun Tzu allusion is meant to suggest that Miers is a feint, all I can say is that such maneuvers often sound more clever in theory than they work out in practice, in war and in politics.)

  19. An Interested Party says:

    My goodness, the Bush toadies are certainly out in force, aren’t they? Who knew that any deviation from the Bush line would mark even the most doctrinaire conservative for criticism. It’s fun to watch you guys fight…

  20. McGehee says:

    It seems odd to me that those defending this choice of nominee are in effect conceding Rush Limbaugh’s criticism, stated the day the nomination was announced, that it “was made from a position of weakness.”

    Isn’t that what it means when you say he couldn’t get anyone better through the Senate?

  21. anjin-san says:

    Look, the top requirement for jobs in the Bush admin is a willingness to kiss Bush’s rear, long & hard. Plenty of candidates in OTB 🙂

  22. Rodney Dill says:

    There won’t be any serious discussion on whether there are better conservative candidates. Any attempt will be drowned out by the liberal mantra

    “This is the worst choice possible, we’re doomed if this goes through.”

    This is exactly the ploy used in TV ads during the Roberts nomination process. Unfortunately this stifles any serious debate for an alternate candidate. If a former judge was not selected I wouldn’t mind seeing someone like Thomas Sowell nominated 😉 Though he probably is too old even if he would accept it.

    … It is so much fun to rattle the moonbat cage whilst we wait.

  23. pat says:

    Points that have been missed:

    Bush will likely get one, maybe two more picks.

    We don’t know if any of the “more qualified” candidates have looked at what happened to Bork and Thomas, looked at their own records, and then decided they don’t actually want to go through the process. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest a couple of the hot names turned down the White House.

    Miers did argue and win a 12th amendment case. Noboy else on the SCOTUS has done that.

    The Rino’s, the gang of 12, the cry babies and the grand standers could all bail on the President if the Democrats stamp their feet and throw a tantrum. Look what happened to Michael Miranda.

    Miers should please the NRA. Which other current justice packed heat?

    I regard tort reform as a major priority. Miers is the most likely to understand the economic damage the current system has done. She would be Bill Gates pick for the court, or Merck’s, or Dow Corning’s.

    Conservatives should stop insulting and belittling the President’s pick until the confirmation hearings start. Then we’ll learn whether she is as good as W thinks, or as bad as Will, Krauthammer, Bork and Kristol claim.

  24. Anderson says:

    Just to pick one thing from Pat:

    I regard tort reform as a major priority. Miers is the most likely to understand the economic damage the current system has done. She would be Bill Gates pick for the court, or Merck’s, or Dow Corning’s.

    So we’re supposed to have judges who decide cases based on their own personal experience, not on the law and the merits?

    Yikes. Where have all the conservatives gone?

    (There are good reasons, btw, why the Constitution is not written to allow Microsoft, or Merck, or Dow Corning to nominate justices.)

    Congrats to Stotch, btw, for keeping OTB lively in JJ’s absence.

  25. DaveD says:

    From answers like the above I am convinced that it is the inside the beltway types like Kristol and his ilk that are fueling the feeling that this decision can only mean the abrupt end of the conservative movement. It seems like the majority of the reasonably educated but every day type folks recognize the President committed no sin upon the Constitution and are willing to sit back and see for themselves how well Miers, herself, performs before the Judiciary Committee. If this attitude makes me a Bush toadie, well your entitled to think that – but I just don’t see it that way.

  26. JAKE says:

    Well, liberal bashing notwithstanding, it seems to me the most hateful criticisms are coming from the right.

  27. hal says:

    As someone who leans a bit leftish as bad or worse than the most “liberal.”

    No.

    You miss the point. Unrestrained power is always a problem which is why many people prefer the executive and at least part of the congress to be of different parties.

    But diversity can also exist within a single party. However Republicans thought to commit themselves to a machine that punished dissent. They nurtured an administration in hubris.

    The consequences were predictable to our founders. That Republican’s failed to remember them calls into question their loyalty to “traditional values.”

    They elevated a leader to the status Washington warned against. Now some are seeing the consequences.

    Whic is good. It’s the way the system is supposed to be. One does want a poloitical system based on the vision of Rove or “dittoheads” where one rigid ideology rules and bad people are punished.

    Republican’s can gain from the conflict which the recent nomination has brought to national consciousness. As the president (quite correctly IMO) imitates aspects of Jimmy Carter they can see that he followed the legacy of LBJ with massive war and domestic spending increases magnified by deficits and then oil shocks.

    It is time to get serious. The game playing of recent years pretending that government was focused on potential crisis will have to cease.

  28. Pat says:

    Anderson: I don’t know how you got from my comment on tort reform to this “So we’re supposed to have judges who decide cases based on their own personal experience, not on the law and the merits?'”

    My point was that tort reform is urgently required but Scotus, to date, has not taken any substantive cases that address the issues. Miers knows commercial litigation, has the experience of working in one of the worst states (from a tort reform perspective), is numerate, and is not on the side of the Trial Lawyers Association. From the WPO Today:

    “Miers’s letter urging Bush to veto legislation came as lawmakers were debating a host of measures he had pushed that were aimed at limiting lawsuits. The Texas Supreme Court had announced that it was going to launch a study of contingency fee arrangements, in which lawyers agree to take a case in return for a percentage of the verdict, which prompted trial lawyers to lobby lawmakers to pass the bill in question.

    Bill Whitehurst, former president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, said lawmakers were concerned that the state Supreme Court was “getting ready to do something that was not the court’s prerogative.”

    But Miers called the legislation an “assault” on the state Supreme Court’s authority to regulate and discipline lawyers and said the legislature had overstepped its bounds. If the bill became law, she warned, it would only benefit special interests that had “brought shame on this State, badly hurt our economic development efforts and continue to this day to cause our State to be held in disrepute for ‘justice for sale.’ ” Bush vetoed the bill.”

    Merck lost their first Vioxx case in a Texas court because a stupid jury could not understand and did not want to understand technical evidence. Here’s the WSJ on that case:

    “Merck argued that Vioxx couldn’t have caused Mr. Ernst’s death because, according to his death certificate, he died of an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, not a heart attack. While scientific evidence suggests Vioxx can promote blood clots leading to a heart attack, no data have linked the drug with arrhythmias.”

    “Jurors who voted against Merck said much of the science sailed right over their heads. “Whenever Merck was up there, it was like wah, wah, wah,” said juror John Ostrom, imitating the sounds Charlie Brown’s teacher makes in the television cartoon. ‘We didn’t know what the heck they were talking about.'”

    I want a SCOTUS judge who will stop this crap, not by legislating from the bench, but by ruling whether the legal devices, such as class action law suits, are actually constitutional.

  29. Fersboo says:

    Funny, I don’t recall ever receiving a guide on being a Republican, nor have I ever been threatened for not towing the party line. When exactly was the Republican Party united in lockstep Hal?

  30. Richard Nash says:

    I would like to comment to all regarding the Bush choice for nominee Miers. She will most likely be confirmed, not because she is a conservative, but because she is not an ultra conservitive. My main regrett in this whole affair is that of timing. It is just to damn bad that this whole scenerio could not have taken place while the white house was occupied by a man of inteligence rather than the nit wit that now resides there now.

    I have no problem with under God in the pledge, I have no problem with prayer in school, nor do I have a problem with religious holidays in school. I do how ever have a big problem with over zellous, hipocritial religious right wing republicans in the U S Congres and Senate. Our forfathers wrote a constitution that seperated church and state and it’s about time to abide by it. As far as Roe v Wade, the court mearly stood up for a woman’s right that never should have been chalenged in the first place.

    And as a matter of proven fact the state of Texas never had a worse Governor than Bush, that is, until we got Perry. Oh yes, I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to Tom DeLay, I hope you enjoy Huntsville.

  31. DL says:

    “I want a SCOTUS judge who will stop this crap, not by legislating from the bench, but by ruling whether the legal devices, such as class action law suits, are actually constitutional.”

    Pat
    I would rather our legislative branch had the courage to pass a good tort reform bill that would scare the crap out of these lottery -lawyers.

  32. Bithead says:

    Isn’t that what it means when you say he couldn’t get anyone better through the Senate?

    Given the state of the Senate, wouldn’t you say it was the best move to make?

  33. Bithead says:

    Bithead, I don’t agree that Miers is the best that Bush can get through a Senate with a 55-Republican majority.

    Neither do I.

    Of course, where we DISagree, is that Bush HAS a 55 Republican majority.

  34. Pat says:

    DL,

    But we also need a judicial system that won’t find some abstruse constitutional theory that allows them to overrule the legislative branch.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    “… It is so much fun to rattle the moonbat cage whilst we wait.”

    Really? It seems like the batshit crazy rightous right’s cage has been rattled far, far more…

  36. Rodney Dill says:

    heh.

    Really? It seems like the batshit crazy rightous right’s cage has been rattled far, far more…

    Case in point.

  37. Anderson says:

    Pat, you said that Miers’s business-lawyer background made her especially likely to understand the “need” for tort reform (itself a dubious term, but whatever). Remember saying that?

    Now, how do you avoid the inference that you would expect Miers’s decisions to be based on her personal experience, not just on the law?