October 7, 2005


Conservatives can trust in Miers (Newt Gingrich, October 7, 2005, Baltimore Sun)

Conservatives should feel confident with the selection of Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court for a simple reason: George W. Bush selected her.

Much has been made in the press about conservative unhappiness with the White House on issues such as spending and immigration and most recently with the selection of Ms. Miers. However, while these tensions are not insignificant, the president has stayed remarkably true to conservative principles on every major decision he has made since winning the Republican primary.

He unabashedly ran as a conservative in the election and even selected Dick Cheney - a man of impeccable conservative credentials - as his vice president. Once elected, he assembled a Cabinet of conservatives, including Donald H. Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft and Condoleezza Rice. He proceeded to cut taxes as promised, and did it again in 2002.

After 9/11, President Bush resisted the prevailing wisdom in Washington that terrorism should be dealt with as a crime, instead treating the attacks as acts of war that required a military response. And after the 2004 election, Mr. Bush put himself front and center as an impassioned advocate of transforming Social Security into a system of personal accounts.

In both of his presidential campaigns, Mr. Bush stated his intention to nominate judges who "will faithfully interpret the law and not legislate from the bench." And his appointments to the federal courts - including the hotly contested appeals court selections - fit that description.

Similarly, Mr. Bush's pick of John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice reflected this philosophy. During his confirmation hearings, the nominee repeatedly stressed his view that a federal judge is not a legislator and therefore must carry out his or her responsibilities with a clear understanding of judicial limitations.

The Right's sense of always being embattled can be a great source of strength, motivating people for political battle and generally helping boost turnout, but it can also be a source of weakness as leaders are studied for any doctrinal deviation as if we were Marxists in a coffee house instead of the majority party of a great nation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2005 12:18 PM

Gathering all together Thursday night for the 50th anniversary dinner for National Review appears to have bolstered the folks over at The Corner in their belief that they can still stop this mediocraty Bush has nominated and get a real conservative into O'Conner's seat (while at the same time, the elitism tag really seems to have hit home, since the charge is denied once every 4-6 hours).

Posted by: John at October 7, 2005 12:46 PM

But hasn't the Conservative base been pretty durned disciplined these last five years?

Posted by: Paul Cella at October 7, 2005 1:06 PM

What's wrong with raising questions? The adherence to the principles of classical liberalism requires thought and an understanding of history as well as human nature. The reasoning behind much modern constitutional juriprudence is difficult to explain without acknowledging the arrogance and hubris behind much of it. Some folks are more prone than others to intellectual bullying or just the desire to be liked and accepted. A nominee's principles regarding the role of the court as well as the plain meaning of the constitution would like to be understood by conservatives. Like most 'conservatives', I trust the judgement of president Bush while being fully aware that mistakes have been made in the past and will be made again. The Kool-Aid drinkers are on the left, oj.

Posted by: Tom C. at October 7, 2005 1:10 PM

The conservative base != National Review

Posted by: Timothy at October 7, 2005 1:11 PM


Yes and they've been paid off handsomely.

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2005 1:22 PM


What's the question?

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2005 1:23 PM

I strongly agree that National Review is not the same thing as the conservative base.

NR was slow to get on board on guns. Buckley is a great man; he deserves major credit for laying the groundwork for turning the country around, but he has always had a kind of elite-ish, tory-ish attitude on guns, a sort of looking down the nose at the pick-up truck crowd.

Conservatives are mature enough to eschew both left-wing opportunism and right-wing deviationism for the forseeable future. The only deal-breaker would be guns, and not even those people on the other side are going to take on this one.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 7, 2005 1:26 PM


Guns seem pretty much off the table these days.

Posted by: Paul Cella at October 7, 2005 1:31 PM

What do you think of 'living constitutionalism'? Does the amendment process as described in the document preclude such things as divining rights from the bench when none were previously known to exist? What is the purpose of the ninth and tenth amendments? Is the current 'law school' assumption regarding the scope and force of the 14th amendment completely valid?

Posted by: Tom C. at October 7, 2005 1:46 PM

Wouldn't be a bad cycle for conservatives to sit out the Senate campaign.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 7, 2005 1:59 PM

My favorite fantasy: Miers is defeated or withdrawn, McConnell gets the nomination, he somehow gets onto the court...



Hey, it could happen. And it would be the ultimate skunking of the NRO idiots. Except I have my reasons for thinking the Cornerites may be not be such idiots. Maybe they really don't want Roe overturned. Life's easier for them that way.

By the way, Hugh Hewitt is having a field day with the NRO Corner. He's scrounged up the archives when they panicked and ran around like little lost kids on Election Day. I'd forgotten all about that one.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 7, 2005 2:19 PM

One too many "be's" in there. But it's still a delicious fantasy for my pro-choice self.

In fact, maybe Roberts will somehow resist the Missus and vote to uphold Roe. Doubtful but possible. I'd love to read K-Lo's posts on that day.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 7, 2005 2:25 PM

Living in the media hothouses of New York and Washington tends to push people towards reacting for the public record as soon as possible, and sometimes without thinking through the issue. The Internet has made that problem even more severe because now you post on impluse without even the 60-90 minutes to think before you're ready for your TV interview.

The NRO folks seemed to think the situation should have gone: Nomination of Luttig/McConnell/Brown/Jones/whoever, followed by Democratic filibuster followed by nuclar option, followed by Luttig/McConnell/Brown/Jones/whoever's confirmation. In the abstract world of intellectual thought that may have happened, but The Corner posters have way more faith in the steadfastness of folks like Spector, Chaffee, Hagel, et al, through a month of liberal op research and sympathetic anti-nominee media barrage than I do. Or they just can't remember as far back as the battle over the John Bolton nomination.

They're right to be worried about her lack of a paper trail, wrong to snobbishly insinuate Miers isn't enough of a pedigree to enter this dog and pony show and naieve if they think if Bush had nominated someone on the right with a massive paper trail he/she would have gone sailing through confirmation as a unified Senate GOP steamrollered the Democrats' obstructionist tactics.

Posted by: John at October 7, 2005 2:38 PM


Don't waste a lot of time worrying about this big law firm corporate lawyer being eager to overturn Roe or any other precedent. If it happens, she won't be the deciding vote.

Posted by: curt at October 7, 2005 3:03 PM

I have yet to come across a sbobbish attitude toward her pedigree, only a concern that she be strong enough to do the job. Time will tell.

Posted by: Tom C. at October 7, 2005 3:04 PM

I persist in my 65-70 vote prediction for Harriet Thomas to be confirmed.

Do these pundits think that if the Right kills off her nomination, the President will nominate Brown or Luttig or McConnell? If so, they don't know George Bush. That is the very last thing he will do.

Posted by: Bob at October 7, 2005 3:06 PM

Miers isn't just a pro-lifer, she's a pro-life activist. Check around the Net for her long history of contributing to and supporting pro-life candidates and organizations, running for office as a pro-lifer herself, and trying to get rid of the ABA's pro-choice stance.

Okay, ya never know for sure. But the paper trail is there, as it most certainly wasn't for Roberts. I'd previously estimated that the chance for an overturn vote from Miers is 80%. That now looks low to me. It's like Roberts' wife was the nominee instead of Roberts himself.

Look, I want Miers defeated. So the more opposition she gets from the right, the better. If the right wants to shoot itself in the head by opposing the nominee with the strongest anti-abortion record of maybe any nominee in history, I say shoot twice in case you miss the first time.

Only I don't think the Krauthammers of the world really want Roe overturned, no matter how much they might ridicule its "reasoning." And that's a never-to-be-expressed motive for their opposition to Miers. They're afraid of what might happen to the conservative cause if Roe falls and the anti-abortion activists in the GOP gone on an all-out jihad against every abortion everywhere.

But at this point I'll accept any help in defeating that pro-life zealot, no matter what the motivation.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 7, 2005 4:02 PM

I'm disappointed that nobody here ... or elsewhere, as near as I can tell ... has stated the obvious. Harriet Miers is unattractive. The picture of her most frequently shown on the Internet makes her look both Gothic and toothless. Like it or not, this counts for a great deal.

Posted by: ghostcat at October 7, 2005 5:27 PM

Ruth Bader Ginsburg ain't what you'd call hot either.

Posted by: AllenS [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 5:41 PM

Let me proffer this: people who read a lot of books are either unattractive or have a lot of hair on their back.

Posted by: AllenS [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 7, 2005 5:46 PM


Posted by: oj at October 7, 2005 5:50 PM

What Republicans will defect? None of the guys who imagine themselves presidential timber can afford to piss Bush & Rove off.

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2005 5:57 PM


All the resume stuff comes from guys who went to Yale, Harvard or both and live in DC or NYC.

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2005 5:58 PM

Bob: Harriet Thomas? I wish. Until so proven, Harriet Souter.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 7, 2005 6:07 PM


He's said, No.

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2005 6:07 PM

AllenS -

Appearances only count for Republican nominees. Fact of life in the big city.

Posted by: ghostcat at October 7, 2005 6:30 PM

Robert: If you insist on waiting until we know things for a fact, you ought to be calling her Harriet Roberts.

Posted by: Timothy at October 7, 2005 6:40 PM

Folks like Krauthammer and the denizens over at NRO now have so much on the line in defending their rabid response on the nomination that if she stutters once or utters an "uhm" during her confirmation hearing, it will be held up as proof she's either Harriet Souter, or if not, a moron who will get rolled by the liberals on the court if she's confirmed.

Posted by: John at October 8, 2005 12:21 AM