Hamilton on Miers


Randy Barnett, in the Wall Street Journal, cites Alexander Hamilton on the purpose of the Senate's "advice and consent":

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. . . . He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.

And speaking of being an obsequious instrument of his pleasure (and can anyone now read that without thinking of Clinton?), here's RNC head Ken Mehlman's reason for supporting the Miers appointment:

Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, yesterday held a conference call with conservative leaders to address their concerns about Miers. He stressed Bush's close relationship with Miers and the need to confirm a justice who will not interfere with the administration's management of the war on terrorism, according to a person who attended the teleconference.

Now, the implications of that are appalling. Bad enough if Miers merely has a hyper-deferential view of executive power and a stingy regard for civil liberties in exigent circumstances. The implication of juxtaposing those two points is that Miers' deference would stem not from any considered judicial philosophy, but from her personal connection to and admiration for Bush. I'd like to see a transcript of that call to see exactly how Mehlman presented the point, but at a first pass, it's unsettling.