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Monday, October 03, 2005 


Today is my day off and is usually restful and relaxing. Well, that all went out the window when I woke up to this crap. This pick is garbage. It's just trash. Who even heard of Harriet Miers until 2 weeks ago? I hadn't, and I tend to think of myself as someone fairly knowledgeable about politics. She came out of nowhere.

There are going to be a lot of calls of cronyism. Why? Cause this is cronyism. Miers has qualifications that a ton of other lawyers across the country have. She isn't spectacular. This reminds me of the failed nomination of Harrold Carswell by Nixon. He had the least credentials of any nominee in 100 years. Senator Hruska famously remarked, "There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers, and they are entitled to a little representation, aren't they?" No, they aren't. The Court is reserved for the top talent in the country.

"Hi, President Bush. I'm Michael Luttig. I clerked for Scalia when he was on the DC Circuit. I clerked for Chief Justice Burger. Burger even hired me on for another year as a special assistant. I worked for the White House and the Solicitor General's office. I was confirmed at age 37 for my seat on the 4th Circuit. My clerkships are the most sought after in the country. Nearly all of my clerks go on to clerk for Supreme Court Justices. My father was also murdered by a carjacker, so you know I won't waiver on criminal law issues. I have a pretty amazing resume, huh?"

"How's it going, Mr. President. I'm Michael McConnell. I clerked for Judge Skelly on the DC Circuit. Then I clerked for that goof Brennan on the Supreme Court and managed to get out with my brain intact. I'm one of the most respected First Amendment scholars in the country. I've written extensively about my opposition to Roe v Wade, most famously in the Wall Street Journal. I've supported a constitutional amendment banning abortion. In spite of all of this, I was confirmed to the 10th Circuit by the Senate. I also have a now famous letter of support from legal scholars of every political background. I taught law at the University of Chicago for over a decade. Even with my judgeship, I find time to teach law at the University of Utah."

See these two? They should be on the Court. Unfortunately, they were born with the wrong set of genitals. Miers is a trailblazer? She's a woman in law. There are many women in law. There are many women in law who are sitting judges and vastly more qualified. How about Edith Jones? Or Karen Williams? Or Alice Batchelder? Save me this trailblazer crap.

Maybe Miers will turn out to be a female version of Scalia or Thomas. Maybe Bush knows her well enough to vouch for her on the big issues. This may be a brilliant move, nominating someone with virtually no paper trail. She may turn out to be an incredible justice. The White House could have put together the biggest swerve job in the history of the Supreme Court. Hell, it faked me out. Everything might be great in the end. But right now, I feel robbed.

EDIT: My pictures keep disappearing. Stupid POS free blog.

while i agree that there are more 'well-qualified' individuals out their then Miers, to say that they were overlooked because they have the wrong set of genitals seems to be a comment based more on angry or annoyance, rather than anything else. I believe it was a bold pick for the Bush administration, but that it was pretty well understood that this next pick would be a minority - i.e., African American, Latino, or a woman, or as many combinations as possible. I agree with the analysis that she is not a trialblazer, and that she is probably not the best canidate for a job - seeing as she was never a judge - but i believe that Bush knows her a little better than you or I do, and I believe he thinks he is getting a staunch conservative on this one.

Hopefully the Liberals will decide to go after something other than he sexuality as to why she should not be confirmed - ummm how about the fact that she HAS NEVER BEEN A JUDGE BEFORE?!?!?!?!

The more I think about this, the less firebreathing I get. I think Bush made this selection because he knows how she will vote. She's not going to drift left (Blackmun), and he's not basing the pick on the opinions of others (Souter).

This is a results-based nomination. He knows Miers, he trusts Miers. She may not be the legal heavyweight that Roberts, Luttig, McConnell, or Alito are, but in the end, does it matter? She is one of nine votes. What she does with that vote is the important thing.

I think that the never been a judge thing is murky. It's bad because there will be a lot of on the job training. She'll be surrounded by people who know what they are doing , and she might be overwhelmed. But Rehnquist had never been a judge either. I think he turned out just fine. She also has some great people on the Court to help her along.

In the end, I think she will vote right on most of the cases. That's probably what really matters. I just hate identity politics. Pick the best person for the job.

For now, I'll chill out and put down the whiskey bottle.

Sure, maybe it is a result-based nomination. She is just one of nine votes. But the question you should be asking yourself is this: do you trust her to write (or supervise her clerks to write) complicated and tedious legal decisions? Isn't membership to the supreme court a bit late to be taught how to write an opinion? She's never clerked for any court. Hell, has she ever argued a case in front of a court before? I wonder how high of a court she is even certified to argue in?!

She has some trial experience, but nothing like Roberts has. In that regard, she is like many, many other lawyers in the country. She certainly doesn't stand out.

Opinion writing is tricky. Each judge or justice really decides how much work he/she does on each one. Many of them farm the work out to their clerks, review it, give it the ok. Thurgood Marshall was famous for this. Scalia is on the other end of the spectrum, being the master wordsmith that he is. It's a matter of personal judgment.

I get the feeling that she knows what Court opinions look like, she understands the general form, and she is an able legal writer. She will probably get a lot of help from the other justices when she circulates her drafts. Depending on how accomodating they feel, they could help her a lot. I bet that the Chief or whoever is the senior justice in the majority (assigning the opinion) will give her some easy ones to start out with. But even with help from the other justices and her clerks, it will be a trial by fire.

I'm officially Swiss on her. I've got nothing to read, so I can't honestly form an opinion. I think there are at least 20 names I would put before hers. But I guess I just have to wait and see what she comes up with while on the Court.

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  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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