"Crash Course in Constitutional Law":
From the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau:
  While other Americans enjoy an early fall weekend, Harriet Miers faces the homework assignment from Hades: hour upon hour of preparation for confirmation hearings that could make or break her hopes for a seat on the Supreme Court.
  The process starts with a 12-page questionnaire seeking details of her professional life, her finances and anything else that might shed light on her qualifications.
  When that's done early next week, she can turn her attention to a half-dozen thick briefing books on the most contentious constitutional issues before the court. By the time Senate hearings start in late October or early November, Miers will have completed a crash course in constitutional law.
Hat tip: Howard.
Sounds slightly less onerous than Maryland's bar application procedures.
10.14.2005 5:30pm
Cato the Elder:
She should not have to take a crash course, and the fact that she does demonstrates precisely why she should not be confirmed.

If Edith Jones had been nominated, you can bet she would not be reading textbooks for the next two months.
10.14.2005 5:34pm
Justin Kee (mail):
Speaking of crash courses in constitutional law, has anyone here read the current draft of the Iraqi Constitution? Not to threadjack, but here are some selected tidbits to chew on:

Chapter One : Article (2): 1st - Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:
(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.
(b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy.
(c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution.


Article (17): 1st - Each person has the right to personal privacy as long as it does not violate the rights of others or general morality.


Chapter 2 : Article (20): Citizens, male and female, have the right to participate in public matters and enjoy political rights, including the right to vote and run as candidates.

unless Chapter Two : Article (20) violates Chapter One : Article (2)(a), of course.

Then for you libertarians out there, I thought that you might enjoy these line items.

Chapter Two : Article (29): 1 - (a) The family is the foundation of society and the state should preserve its (the family's) existence and ethical and religious value.

Chapter Two : Article (31): 1st - Every Iraqi has the right to health service, and the state is in charge of public health and guarantees the means of protection and treatment by building different kinds of hospitals and health institutions.

Chapter Two : Article (33): 1st - Every individual has the right to live in a correct environmental atmosphere.
2nd - The state guarantees protection and preservation of the environment and biological diversity.

Chapter Two : Article (36): The state guarantees, as long as it does not violate public order and morality:
1st - the freedom of expressing opinion by all means.
2nd - the freedom of press, publishing, media and distribution.
3rd - freedom of assembly and peaceful protest will be organized by law.

I think I need a couple of Advil....
10.14.2005 5:40pm
Something that might be fruitful to learn is what textbooks, journal articles, etc., will serve as sources for those briefing books Miers will be studying. Or, perhaps Miers will actually go to some texts and journal articles directly. I wonder if Miers will even personally look through a con law casebook (Murphy/Fleming/Barber, Gunther/Sullivan, etc.).
10.14.2005 6:11pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
This has been my worry, that the expectations with Miers are so lowered. If she can rattle off the Lemon test, she'll be received as a genius.
10.14.2005 6:20pm
David Walser:
She should not have to take a crash course, and the fact that she does demonstrates precisely why she should not be confirmed.
Cato the Elder

Eldest, how do we know that then Judge, now Chief Justice, Roberts did not also feel a need to prepare for the hearings? It's the press that's calling this a crash course on the constitution, not Miers. She may be using the same materials Roberts used a few weeks ago.
10.14.2005 7:25pm
SimonD (www):
I know that when I get on a Boeing for a long-distance plane trip, I want my pilot to be taking a "crash course" in flying a multi-engine jet airliner before we leave the runway.
10.14.2005 7:38pm
cfw (mail):
Who do you suppose has signed up to act as her tutor? More than one tutor? Perhaps the senate should ask. O'Connor had Roberts. If I were Miers, I would call for Maureen Mahoney or maybe the UVA con law professor, AE Dick Howard (my old prof).

It does not thrill me that Judith Jones or Brown might not feel required to go through a crash course, a new look at USSCT cases, if that is true.

I think anyone (like Bork, perhaps) who thinks he or she knows already all that he or she needs to know about all the USSCT cases decided to date, even before hitting the USSCT, has a screw lose and needs to stay off that bench.

The way one looks at those USSCT cases as an advocate or appeals court judge does not properly determine how one can and must look at them as a USSCT justice. It is a bit like the difference between the art historian (Bork) and the studio artist (O'Connor), eh?

Bork I admire as an advocate, debater or professor. I would not call him more qualified in temperament than either Roberts or Miers for a USSCT seat.
10.14.2005 7:52pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
She may be using the same materials Roberts used a few weeks ago.

Perhaps that note from Miers to Roberts will be produced to the Judiciary Committee?

Dear John-John,

Congrats on your SUPER nomination hearings!!! You are the BEST! Can I call you "Chiefie"? (j.k.)

Anyway, do you still have all that constitution-stuff that you used to prep for the hearings? Because I need it BAD!!

W/b and let me know ... the sooner I get started the better!

Thanks, Harriet.

P.S.--Did I ever tell you that you're the second smartest guy I ever met? Too bad you're not from Texas!
10.14.2005 7:57pm
james23 (mail):
Arlen Specter announced to the press after meeting her that she needs a "crash course in constitutional law." That's where the phrase came from. He also said at that time that she could not get by with the "murder boards" that were used by Roberts and other nominees to brush up.
10.14.2005 8:03pm
Nunzio (mail):
Given the Senate's interest in constitutional law, all she needs to know is (1) abortion and (2) and the power of Congress to regulate absolutely anything (except abortion)
10.14.2005 8:22pm
erp (mail):
Just which member of the judicial committee does anybody think is competent to discuss constitutional law? or traffic law for that matter?
10.14.2005 8:28pm
SimonD (www):
You have to wonder if Arlen Specter is the best arbiter of whether or not a person has a grasp of ConLaw. See The Tempting of America at pp.301-6
10.14.2005 9:17pm
tylerh (mail):
which member of the judicial committee ... is competent to discuss... traffic law ?

Teddy Kennedy?
10.14.2005 9:28pm
Matt Barr (mail) (www):
I got your crash course in Constitutional law right here, Ms. Miers.
10.14.2005 10:33pm
Cornellian (mail):
I wouldn't rule out Arlen Specter. It's tempting to think of politicians as clueless idiots when it comes to the law because so many of them really are, but I'll bet Specter knows more ConLaw than Harriet Miers.
10.14.2005 11:15pm
erp (mail):
Cornellian, I'll take that bet and double it.
10.15.2005 10:39am
If I were a Senator on the Judiciary Committee, I'd ask her to name specific books or journal articles that she has read in preparation for her confirmation hearings. She should be reading more than just briefing books prepared by staffers. Even if she doesn't read anything beyond briefing books, she should be able to name at least one or two con law casebooks. If she can't even come up with the names of a casebook or two after having prepared for the hearings, then that's really sad.
10.15.2005 1:43pm
SimonD (www):
If I were a Senator on the Judiciary Committee, I'd ask her to name specific books or journal articles that she has read in preparation for her confirmation hearings.
I'd make sure my first question was for her to define her understanding of the term "settled law," and describe under what a case that was wrongly decided should be upheld or overruled. ;)
10.15.2005 2:53pm