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Friday, October 07, 2005


INTELLECTUAL HONESTY: LIBERALS CONFUSED BY CONSERVATIVES FIGHTING OVER HARRIET MIERS 

The conservatives that are bothered by apparent cronyism have noted that all conservatives would have protested loudly if Bill Clinton nominated his White House counsel. The question that should be posed is, if Bill Clinton nominated his White House counsel would liberals have protested? One cannot envision Bill Clinton saying of Susan Estrish or Eleanor Clift, "the lady doth protest too much."

Liberals, since they see power as an end unto itself, are scratching their heads over why conservatives are fretting about the qualifications of Harriet Miers


"Jurisprudence." "Qualifications." "Judicial philosophy." "Pedigree." "Credentials." "Experience." Those words and more have stunned liberals as they have seen the fight over Harriet Miers take place not between right and left but amongst rank and file conservatives. Liberals view power as an end unto itself in which it is more important to figure out what a potential supreme court nominee thinks than it is to figure out how they think. Conservatives have bandied about words like "qualifications" and "credentials" because not only do they care about the role the Supreme Court has in our lives but they are also true believers in the sort of judicial phphilosophy that extols originalism, textualism and respect for the U.S. Constitution.

The cleaving of the conservative bloc that had been reliably supportive of President Bush's judicial nominees is a result of a deep-seated caring for the future of the Supreme Court that supercedes loyalty to any president or political party. Conservatives wish to see a realignment of the Supreme Court not because they want Republican control of the highest court in the land but because they want to see a restoration of a healthy respect for the Constitution.

Before President Bush named Harriet Miers liberals were licking their chops, ready to pounce on whatever "ideologue" they could get their hands on and turn into chopped liver. They did not anticipate that conservatives would start another front in the Judicial Battle and seriously review a nominee's qualitative merits instead of reflexively backing Bush's choice.

The funny thing is that liberals never automatically critique a judicial appointment from their own side of the political aisle. In the "end game" of liberal politics the only thing that matters is, "will she vote to uphold Roe v. Wade and (insert any cause celebre case of the day)?" As long as the ideological bona fides of a nominee like a Breyer a Ginsburg or a Jane Doe is patently obvious then all intra-party introspection is considered an unnecessary waste of time. A liberal thinks 'who cares if Liberal Judge #1 has no judicial experience if she believes that Roe v. Wade is settled law?' Or, 'who cares if Liberal Judge #2 has been a blatant political partisan for our side, where's the harm in that?'

To liberal amazement Republican voters and conservative pundits have closely examined Harriet Miers background and credentials in a better manner than any of Charles Schumer's goon-like plumbers could ever hope to achieve. The issue of "cronyism" has also embarrassed and rankled Bush supporters. Conservatives have noted that if Bill Clinton nominated his White House counsel they would have protested loudly. The question that should be posed is, if Bill Clinton nominated his White House counsel would liberals have protested? One cannot envision Bill Clinton saying of Susan Estrish or Eleanor Clift, "the lady doth protest too much."

An illustrious and a diverse group of conservatives including George Will, Pat Buchanan, David Frum and William Kristol has come out and opposed Miers. Do these prominent conservatives oppose her because they think she'll ask Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden on how to decide Supreme Court cases? No, they oppose her because they feel that her resume is not as robust and solid as many other potential nominees.

Conservatives are aware that Bush knows Miers personally and in a very familiar manner. It is obvious that he is as comfortable with her as he is with Karl Rove and Karen Hughes. Like Rove and Hughes, President Bush brought Miers to the White House from Texas. In all likelihood, she will vote on cases in a way that most conservatives will find pleasing, satisfactory and desired. The crux of conservative angst is whether or not Miers will bring a judicial manner that bears considerable heft (yes, the dreaded "gravitas"). Those who are worried by Bush's choice of nominee want to be reassured that there will be a Supreme Court justice whose reasoned and thought-out jurisprudence will not only enable her to vote the way they want her to, but will do so with a healthy respect of the constitution so that written opinions, concurrences and even dissents can make them proud.

CONSERVATIVES FOR AND AGAINST HARRIET MIERS:
AGAINST:
George Will: Can This Nomination Be Justified?
William Kristol: Disappointed, Depressed
and Demoralized - A reaction to the Harriet Miers nomination
Charles Krauthammer: Withdraw This Nominee
Ann Coulter: This is What 'Advice and Consent' Means
Pat Buchanan: Bush Recoils from Greatness

IN FAVOR:
Martin Olasky: Wanted: An Originalist
James Dobson: Court Nominee is 'Deeply Committed Christian'
Jay Sekulow: 'Excellent Choice'



Slate: Gods vs. Geeks - GOP evangelicals fight intellectuals over Harriet Miers. By John Dickerson

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