Miers' Viewpoint Discrimination

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Remember the Federalist Society flap in connection with John Roberts' Supreme Court nomination? Roberts' opponents cited his association with the group of conservative and libertarian lawyers as evidence of his right-wing extremism, while his defenders said he had never, technically speaking, been a member. Now conservative critics of Harriet Miers' nomination are worried by her attempt to distance herself from the Federalist Society, and the Bush administration wants everyone to know she's really quite chummy with the group.

Back in 1989, when Miers was a member of the Dallas City Council, she testified in a voting rights case that she "tried to avoid memberships in organizations that were politically charged with one viewpoint or the other." She cited the Federalist Society as an example of a group she'd shun because "it's better to not be involved in organizations that seem to color your view one way or the other for people who are examining you." In response to complaints about these remarks, White House spokesman Mark Scott McClellan insisted Miers is "supportive" of the Federalist Society and "like the rest of the White House, knows that the Federalist Society has been a great ally on many important issues, particularly when it comes to the federal judiciary."

The Federalist Society's newfound P.R. value speaks volumes about the weakness of Miers' credentials and qualifications. And her avowed determination to avoid taking an identifiable position on any issue, even by implication, does not make her look any better, although I suppose she deserves some sort of credit for managing to remain a complete cipher throughout her career.

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  1. The lack of information, especially in someone who has been in various public/high-profile positions, is itself information.

    It tells you, among other things, that she probably isn’t much of an ideologue.

    Indeed, her career is much more that of a political fixer (law firm managing partner, Dallas City Council member, and Texas Lottery Board – all hallmarks of political connectedness, not intellectual heft).

    In the context of a Supreme Court Justice, this is very foreboding. First, it seems unlikely that she will bring any kind of consistency to the bench, thus continuing the worst of O’Connor’s legacy. Indeed, as an innate politico, she will provide find it irresistable to judge to a result, rather than from principles, and will find it difficult to resist the lure of using or approving the power of the state.

    Another judicial legislator, in other words, but one who will cast the occasional anti-abortion (and perhaps anti-gay) vote as well. Is that the worst of both worlds, or what?

  2. Well, there’s also the fact that Roberts being a Catholic wasn’t up for discussion, but Miers’ evangelical Christianity is so long as Bush is using it as a means to bolster her candidacy. The blatant hypocrisy involved such contortionist boggles the mind.

  3. Minor nit to pick: Isn’t that weasel of a white house spokesman named Scott McClellan?

  4. When is my status as a cipher going to score me a nice lifetime gig? Don’t know any Bushes personally alas.

  5. I have to admit, whatever desire I had to defend the Miers nomination faded when I found myself reading the testimony of a city councilwoman in a long forgotten, unremarkable voting rights case to figure out if I want her on the Supreme Court. She doesn’t have anything to show for her career? Not a book? A law review article? An editorial in National Review? A pithy e-mail to someone? This is pathetic.

  6. The White House could have said, “Mrs. Miers’ efforts to avoid appearing biased speak well of her, and demonstrate that she has the commitment to fairness and avoiding the appearance of impropriety that is appropriate for a judge.”

    Instead, they said, “Oh, don’t worry, she’ll totally vote for the good guys.”

  7. John – she did have some pithy e-mails. You know, the one where she said W was the bestest guv ever.

  8. True, very true Happy Jack. I give up on this one. I can’t explain it without resorting to wierd sick thoughts about Miers and Laura Bush. My only reaction to this whole thing is WTF?

  9. Thanks, John, for that mental image. Thanks a lot. Its gonna take a lot of tequila to get that out of my head.

  10. Good luck RC Dean. I have been trying for a week now and it won’t go away despite liberal doses of booze.

  11. Jeez, Miers sounds like a transplant from the Neutral homeworld.

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