A Stunning Column By George Will:
The blogosphere was abuzz last night by news of this hard-hitting column by George Will. I am tempted to post the whole thing but here is an excerpt:
It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.The White House should be getting very nervous this morning. But the real questions are: How nervous are Republican senators and are they capable of handling the responsibility of "advise and consent"? Will the Democrat senators accept a mediocre (or worse) nominee who they imagine will be more pliable in the future or will they actually oppose a nominee based on her lack of qualifications to be in the Supreme Court rather than on how she will vote once there?
He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.
In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked — to ensure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance that he would be asked — whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."
It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court's role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.
The wisdom of presumptive opposition to Miers's confirmation flows from the fact that constitutional reasoning is a talent — a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest. It is not usually acquired in the normal course of even a fine lawyer's career. The burden is on Miers to demonstrate such talents, and on senators to compel such a demonstration or reject the nomination.
Update: Well, we now have the answer to the question about Republican senators from this WSJ column by John Cornyn.
All Related Posts (on one page) | Some Related Posts:
- Krauthammer: "Withdraw This Nominee":
- The Harriet Miers Oeuvre.--
- More on Miers, Intellectuals, and Evangelicals:...
- Gods v. Geeks:
- A Stunning Column By George Will:
- More on the Bush Administration Shamelessly Using Miers's Religion:...
- Harriett Miers?:
- Miers Nomination--Well, My Prediction Was Right:
- It's Miers: