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OUCH:
George Will has a rather harsh piece on Harriett Miers in the Wednesday Washington Post.
Jeremy (www):
It's a great piece, and I think Will is absolutely right.

Bush was obligated to his base to nominate qualified conservatives. There was no question John Roberts was qualified, and everyone was mostly certain he was conservative. But Miers is rather clearly not qualified and nobody knows whether she's conservative or not.

Conservative activists aren't going to go to the mat for somebody that may very well turn out to be a Souter with an unacceptably thin resume.
10.5.2005 1:51am
murky (mail) (www):
Wow, that was actually sensible. Will must have a personal grudge against Miers.
10.5.2005 3:00am
Steve:
The idea that Bush shouldn't have signed McCain-Feingold if he believed it to be unconstitutional has bugged me for years. Strange to see some conservatives just waking up to it now.
10.5.2005 3:14am
Challenge:
Steve, I wouldn't necessarily blame him if he thought it was a deal killer for 2004. He was hoping, I think, that a punt to the Supremes would yield a different result. Still, not his finest moment.

On to Will's column: I don't like the smug elitism surrounding a lot of the criticism of Miers. Coulter on Fox said how she was a "mediocrity" and that only one-tenth of one percent of lawyers are blessed with an intellect great enough to serve on the Supreme Court. That kind of talk makes me want to rethink my opposition to Miers.

Isn't the REAL problem that Bush has sent us ANOTHER blank slate (this time without a golden resume)? I think Bush might actually try to Souterize us. What else is the explanation when there are 55 Republicans in the Senate? Is he that weak? Does he care that little about the Court? Does he think the American people have no right to know what kind of justice we are getting?
10.5.2005 3:41am
Serenity Now (mail) (www):
Which conservatives are "just waking up to it now"? This isn't the first time Will criticized Bush for signing McCain-Feingold.
10.5.2005 3:46am
Medis:
Challenge,

Suppose I said only a few basketball players ultimately possess the ability to be in the NBA. Am I being a "smug elitist"? Or am I simply pointing out an obvious truth?

And if you agree with my NBA analogy ... are you really saying that we should be less demanding of our Supreme Court nominees? Really? Really really?
10.5.2005 8:02am
Cornellian (mail):
If elected politicians vote to enact (or decline to veto) legislation they actually think is unconstitutional, on the rationale that the courts will do the dirty work of striking it down for them, doesn't that pretty much kill the idea of deference to the elected branches?

Steve, I wouldn't necessarily blame him if he thought it was a deal killer for 2004. He was hoping, I think, that a punt to the Supremes would yield a different result. Still, not his finest moment.
10.5.2005 8:59am
Gunner:
Medis/Challenge

It is also worthy to note that there are more professional basketball players in the NBA right now than there have been Supreme Court Justices in the history of the country.
10.5.2005 9:38am
Medis:
Gunner,

Indeed. If I really wanted to stretch this analogy, I'd claim it was like electing a decent MLB player to the NBA Hall of Fame on the grounds that he was "a successful athlete".
10.5.2005 1:56pm
Challenge:
"Suppose I said only a few basketball players ultimately possess the ability to be in the NBA. Am I being a "smug elitist"? Or am I simply pointing out an obvious truth?

And if you agree with my NBA analogy ... are you really saying that we should be less demanding of our Supreme Court nominees? Really? Really really?"

Do I think one needs to have an IQ of 170 or higher (the intellectual equivalent of the physical ability needed to compete in the NBA) to sit on the Court and be an excellent jurist? Absolutely not.

I do wish Miers had more relevant experience. But that is what makes her "underqualified," not where she went to law school, or that she was head of the Texas Lottery. Those kind of jabs are petty and meaningless. Anybody who uses them should be ashamed.

In another era, her qualifications would mean less. I want someone who has thought a lot about the Constitution (and done so publicly, subject to criticism), because I believe that ensures we get a justice who doesn't "grow" on the Court. Beyond that, specific experience is really not all that necessary--the Constitution has its nuances, but being a good originalist isn't rocket science. If I was dumb enough to insist this was a historic standard, I would not only be denying reality, but some of my favorite justices would never have been on the Court. Nevertheless, Republicans have been Souterized one too many times to take this President's word for it. This is the same reason I thought Roberts was a poor choice, despite his stellar resume. Roberts and Miers are the kind of nominees we should expect if Republicans were in the minority, not the majority. I think a lot of people don't realize how Roberts' nomination contributed to the current outrage.
10.5.2005 6:46pm