T Nation

Harriet Miers SCJ

It didn’t take long for President Bush to follow the successful appointment of Justice Roberts with another pick for the top court.

Interestingly enough she has never served as a justice in any capacity. However, that does not seem to be all that unique:

I wonder how Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy and the other liberals will attack this time around?

What do the T-Man think of his latest pick?

I’m skeptical. Anyone who gave cash to the DNC to get Gore elected, has questionable judgement. (Not BAD judgement, just judgement worthy of question.)

I’m not sure that she’s the right person for the job, but I’ll reserve my judgment until I can do more research.

Hmmm, so far its just the conservatives doing all the screaming and yelling, there zebbie. Must be a good pick, then.

[quote]mark57 wrote:
Hmmm, so far its just the conservatives doing all the screaming and yelling, there zebbie. Must be a good pick, then.


Extremists are always loudest (left & right). I think the RightWing-Nuts are pissed that the Repulicans didn’t punch the Dems in the gut and then give them a power-knee to the groin. This nomination doesn’t do that at all. We had an opportunity here, and it seems like it’s lost. The Lefty Goons can’t dig anything up on her, so they’ve got nothing to yell about.

I’m underwhelmed at this point, but I’ll keep an open mind. Here is why:

  1. She comes from a big private practice background. This can be an advantage to looking at the problems that might come before the court, particularly business issues. I don’t mind a lack of judicial experience if the candidate displays a lot of skill and intelligence. Historically, it is not terribly unsual for a non-judge to be appointed to the SCOTUS. Also, some of the top legal talent in the US are partners in big firms - they are there because that is where the money is.

  2. She did her schooling at SMU. I think breaking out of the Ivy League-Stanford monopoly of the Court might be a welcome change as far as perspective.

She has a chance to impress, I’ll wait and see.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Also, some of the top legal talent in the US are partners in big firms - they are there because that is where the money is.

What do you call the person who scores lowest on the bar exam?

“Your honor”

I think this take sums up my thoughts nicely:

I do not know who Harriet Miers is ( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9566882/ ). I know that she is White House Counsel, that she was Staff Secretary in the first term and thus responsible for perusing all material that passed through the President’s desk. I know that she has broken glass ceilings as a lawyer in Texas and I imagine that she is a very bright and capable person to have been able to do so. But I do not know who she is.

I know that Harry Reid passed her name along to the White House in the form of a recommendation. I know that my own senior Senator, Dick Durbin, called Miers “a middle ground between the parties” on NPR this morning. But I do not know who Harriet Miers is.

What I do know for sure is that there were a great many originalists and strict constructionists the President could have chosen . . . but didn’t. Again, Ms. Miers may be plenty capable, but you cannot tell me that she is better prepared to assume her duties on the Supreme Court than would be Edith Jones, Michael McConnell or Michael Luttig–to name just a few people. You cannot tell me that at age 60, she is the kind of longevity candidate that most Presidents seek. You cannot tell me that we ought to take much comfort from this: http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/10/3/82655/5147 [UPDATE: And this: http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/10/03/D8D0KLSG6.html ] unless–and this may very well be a tenuous excuse at best–Ms. Miers, as the co-head of a very large and powerful law firm, was obliged to be diverse in her political contributions so as to keep firm clients happy. We know that Harriet Miers is very loyal to one man–George W. Bush. We do not know whether she is very loyal to the ideas of those who up until now have sought to support this President–and at times (like today, potentially) were rewarded with disappointment.

I like to think the best of people. So I will think the best of Harriet Miers, for the moment. I will give her the opportunity to prove herself. But for now, I know that the Roberts nomination set a very high bar. Thus far, it appears not to have been met. And thus far, I am distinctly less pleased with this nomination than I was with that of John Roberts.

Distinctly less pleased.

Here’s a link to a chain of posts at the Volokh conspiracy where some libertarian leaning law professors are discussing the nomination - there’s at least one post that examines Miers on 2nd amendment grounds…:



Great links, much appreciated. I’m trying to piece together my own opinion of her and this helps.

Supported local tax increases; advocated the establishment of the International Criminal Court; some fear that her support of the (unlawful) placement of women in combat could lead to a future court ruling requiring young women to register for Selective Service. Among many other things…

Either Bush is pathetically weak and fearful of his political opponents, is pathetically and abnormally needy of the approval of his political opponents, or is a traitor to his country and a betrayer of those people who enthusiastically supported him (of which I was not one).

Thank you, that is my political post for the year.

Man it’s so pointless to even attempt to bitch about this now. Nothing will change the planned events will go on and there’s nothing you can do about it. NOTHING. but if complaining and debating meks you feel like you accomplished something or were given recognition by members of an annonymous bord, then good for you.


Here is the latest update on the feelings about the nomination.


GOP, Democrats Conflicted Over Miers
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
2 hours ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush’s decision to make White House counsel Harriet Miers his second Supreme Court nominee is causing some strange friction on Capitol Hill, with some Republicans unsure about her conservative credentials and some Democrats seemingly supporting her.

The mixed signals create some uncertainty about how Miers will be received in the Senate as the Judiciary Committee prepares for another round of confirmation hearings before the end of the year.

Bush portrayed Miers, who never has been a judge, as a strict constructionist, someone who “will strictly interpret our Constitution and laws.”

“She will not legislate from the bench,” the president said as the 60-year-old former private attorney stood with him in the Oval Office.

“If confirmed, I recognize that I will have a tremendous responsibility to keep our judicial system strong and to help ensure that the courts meet their obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution,” said Miers, who has worked on previous judicial nominations with many of the same senators who now will judge her candidacy.

She immediately began visiting senators in the Capitol, meeting with Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, all of whom had words of praise for her.

In a round of television interviews Tuesday, White House counselor Dan Bartlett sought to reassure conservatives who have expressed concern that Miers might not be conservative enough for their tastes because she had no strong record on hot-button issues like abortion and gay rights.

“She shares President Bush’s judicial outlook and that is that justices shouldn’t be creating law from the bench, they should be strictly interpret the Constitution,” Bartlett said on CBS’ “The Early Show.”

Bartlett said that Bush had not asked Miers her views on issues like abortion or gay rights. “President Bush thinks it’s very important not to impose a litmus test on judicial candidates,” Bartlett said on NBC’s “Today” show.

With Miers’ selection, Bush was looking to satisfy conservatives who helped confirm Chief Justice John Roberts _ without inflaming Democrats who repeatedly warned against the selection of an extreme conservative to succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who has voted to uphold abortion rights and preserve affirmative action.

It seems he has done both, somewhat. Quite a few GOP senators praised Miers, just as they praised Roberts when his nomination was announced by the president.

“My conversations with Harriet Miers indicate that she is a first-rate lawyer and a fine person,” said conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a former prosecutor whose nomination to the federal court was stalled by Democrats.

Added Specter, R-Pa., an abortion-rights moderate, “Everything I know about Ms. Miers is good.”

Democrats said Miers, with no judicial record, will need to answer more questions than Roberts did during his confirmation hearing. Most of her paperwork from her White House days will not be available to the Senate because it falls under executive privilege or lawyer-client privilege.

“If there ever was a time when the hearings are going to make a huge difference, it’s now,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

At the same time, the White House worked aggressively Monday to allay concerns over Miers among conservatives determined to turn the court to the right.

Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh repeatedly challenged Vice President Dick Cheney on why Bush chose Miers over other nominees whose conservative credentials were more clearly based on long records as judges. But by day’s end the White House trumpeted favorable comments from Focus on the Family chairman James Dobson, among other prominent conservatives.

Kyleen Wright, president of an anti-abortion group then known as Texans United for Life, said in an interview that Miers donated $150 to the organization as a “bronze patron” for its annual dinner in 1989.

Frist is pushing to have Miers confirmed by Thanksgiving, a compressed schedule. “She has demonstrated her leadership, her character, her integrity,” said Frist, R-Tenn., who harbors presidential aspirations in 2008.

But some of the more conservative GOP senators are being reserved when it comes to Miers’ nomination.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., an anti-abortion senator who is also considered to be a 2008 presidential candidate, pointedly declined comment on Miers. And Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, one of the conservatives newly elected to the Senate in 2004, said he was reserving judgment.

“It has been my expectation that President Bush would nominate someone in the mold of Justices (Antonin) Scalia and (Clarence) Thomas and it is my hope that Harriet Miers will prove to be such a person,” he said. Both Scalia and Thomas have voted to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

I discovered the secret of the Democrats getting their way in this political climate. They should simply agree and/or endorse wholeheartedly policies and nominees that the GOP brings up and the GOP will automatically have issues with their own decisions. “If the Dems are all in favor, something must be wrong with it. Go against it!” Its like the “Rabbit Season/Duck Season” skit from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.

[quote]TShaw wrote:

There are too many RightWing-Nuts to take that thread seriously. It’s the same noise that you’ll get from http://www.democraticunderground.com. It’s 95% rubbish and incapable of an intelligent thought.

Oh boohoo.

The great uniter (sic) finally did something that appears not to be overly destructive and he gets criticism from within.

Way to refute those allegations of cronyism, nominating one of the least-qualified candidates, whose main claim to fame is that she’s been with you since the old days in Texas…

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
Way to refute those allegations of cronyism, nominating one of the least-qualified candidates, whose main claim to fame is that she’s been with you since the old days in Texas…[/quote]

Unfortunately, cronyism is the way of the american political system since its inception. The only differences are that Bush & Co. have raised it to an artform all its own and he is one of the few that it has come back to bite him repeatedly on the ass (“Heck of a job, Brownie!”).

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
Way to refute those allegations of cronyism, nominating one of the least-qualified candidates, whose main claim to fame is that she’s been with you since the old days in Texas…[/quote]

While I do agree with a lot of cricism regarding this nomination, I think we need to remember that in a historical context, many USSC nominees have been practicing attorneys with no judicial experience who got their positions due to state-level political connections with Presidents – Powell and White are two relatively recent examples.

More information…


[What I do know for sure is that there were a great many originalists and strict constructionists the President could have chosen . . . .]

Which originalist strict constructionist ideas are you in favor of? bringing back slavery? disenfranchising women? forcing the aboriginal people off of their land? or another good old originally contitutional practice?