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Miers and Business Law:
Over at The Conglomerate, Gordon Smith takes a look at whether a Justice Miers would help the Supreme Court in business law cases. His conclusion:
  Given her weakness in constitutional law, her background in business law looks like a strength. On the other hand, her nomination hardly merits praise for bolstering the Court's business law expertise. If that were the primary goal, I suspect that President Bush could have found hundreds of more qualified candidates. In the end, the total package is still monumentally disappointing.
Goober (mail):
Am I the only one a little confused about why "business law" would be an asset for a SCOTUS nominee? Chancery Court in Delaware, I could get. But most ordinary business law cases like those Miers is familiar with would proceed under state law, no?

I could understand a tort or antitrust litigator who had experience in federal procedure, or especially an administrative law expert. But somehow I think this praise of "business law" experience is merely an unthinking reaction against the sentiment that only con law experience is needed on the Court, and the unwarranted contrary conclusion that the Court does everything else besides con law.
10.20.2005 4:39pm
Hans Bader (mail):
For business law expertise, it would have been better to pick the well-qualified Sixth Circuit judge Alice Batchelder, who had decades of experience handling business law issues as a federal appellate judge and trial judge (not to mention prior service as a bankruptcy judge), including handling complex securities and other cases.

She would have been conservative enough to appeal to the GOP base, but not so conservative as to be successfully filibustered. (Sort of a mild-mannered cousin of Edith Jones, albeit with the same sort of business law savvy).

Yet she wasn't chosen, and some dimwit in the White House got Brit Hume of Fox to repeat the canard that she was a judicial activist.
10.20.2005 4:56pm
Slippery Slope:
BY ANY STANDARD, Bush could have found hundreds of more qualified candidates. The only skill she seems uniquely qualified at is sychophantry.
10.20.2005 4:57pm
stopped by (mail):
I'd prefer to have at least one of the nine justices have an extensive business law background. Federal regulation of commerce matters too much.

But as her written responses to the Senate questions are being circulated on the internet, it seems to me that her candidacy stopped listing and started sinking -- quickly.
10.20.2005 5:01pm
Eisenstern (mail):
It appears that Miers' experience relates largely to the priority of liens under Texas law, at least according to the information compiled by her blogspheric defender, "Beldar" (as in the Conehead).
10.20.2005 5:02pm
David Maquera (mail) (www):
The Harriet Miers nomination is going to be voted down 51-49 by the full Senate. Also, any Senator who votes for Miers will be defeated in Berrien and Macomb Counties in Michigan should they stump for votes in the 2008 Michigan Presidential Primary.
10.20.2005 5:17pm
Thales (mail) (www):
John Paul Stevens has extensive experience with antitrust law. Stephen Breyer is an administrative law expert. Of especial pertinence to the business law community, what the Court may lack is an expert on the federal securities laws, but I could be wrong.
10.20.2005 5:24pm
frankcross (mail):
The business law that comes before the Court is statutory interpretation for regulatory statutes. The securities laws are very important, and the Court has taken a lot of criticism for its decisions there. But I'm not sure that Meirs has a particularly good understanding of securities law. I think the supposition is that she will be pro-business in these cases, but in securities law this may mean pro-mangement, which is often anti-investor.
10.21.2005 12:07am
eratosthenes (mail) (www):
Good point about the pro-management anti-investor issue. But this is usually more of a problem with state courts interpreting the common law of agency, partnerships, and corporations--and Delaware seems to usually get it right on the pro-investor angle. By contrast, the federal securities laws are at least in theory less free-wheeling and more constrained by text or by SEC rules, which at least have the sometime virtue of being promulgated by an expert staff whose job is to protect investors (even if the Commissioners are political and pro-management, especially Chairman Cox).
10.21.2005 12:32am