October 12, 2005


Disasters (David Warren, 10/12/05, Ottawa Citizen)

I wanted to subtract from what I said last week, on President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the week since, much dust has settled, and it has become clear that Ms Miers is acceptable to the broad rightwing Republican constituency, and to not a few Democrats. She is despised, chiefly, by the rightwing intellectuals (people like me), who were heartbroken that Mr Bush would pass over the long list of brilliant, strict-constructionist legal scholars that have arisen in response to the challenge presented by two generations of often deconstructionist rulings by the same Supreme Court. [...]

While I'm not sure we rightwing elitists were wrong, I hope we were, and without speaking for anyone else, I'm beginning to think I was wrong.

The religious Right pundits will lead the way off of that limb.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 12, 2005 2:49 PM

Obviously because they haven't got the ego that prevents them from saying "I was wrong" (a pre-requisite for being a Christian, BTW).

Posted by: Ptah at October 12, 2005 4:17 PM

The people like David Warren are people who don't understand strategy and/or have never read and understood Sun Tzu.

Combat/struggle is not about vanquishing your enemy. It's about advancing your position. Whenever you can advance your position and take territory from your opponent--that's good. And the best thing is when you can advance your position without engaging in combat. Combat is dangerous, not only does it cost you, but there's always the possibility that you'll get badly hurt, even if you win.

Miers was an easy win without a battle. Or to put it in Dubya's terms: an easy win of a decent pot.

Posted by: fred at October 12, 2005 4:17 PM

But some Republican staffers don't like it! Doesn't that make it difficult, somehow?

Posted by: Timothy at October 12, 2005 4:20 PM

The same staffers who couldn't get Pryor, Owen, & Brown through.

Posted by: oj at October 12, 2005 4:25 PM

Well stated Fred. However Warren's a welcome voice of sanity blowing down from the North.

For those who haven't taken the time to read all his commentary I wouldn't want you to miss this quote:
"Perhaps the great Texas jurisprude, Lino Graglia, put this best, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt. To paraphrase: the Supremes are in the habit of arrogating to themselves decisions that should really be made by the people (on everything from abortion, pornography, and school prayer, to all-male military academies in the State of Virginia). Power naturally flows to their heads. Yet the Constitution had nothing to say about such things, and explicitly left what it had nothing to say about, to the people. It is this trust in the people that has made America the beacon she is."

Posted by: Genecis at October 12, 2005 4:50 PM

The strangest think about all this to me was not that lots of people didn't like the pick--welcome to politics--but that so many rightest ideologues conveyed a sense of betrayal or illegitimacy, as if the president was somehow just a trustee of a certain mindset and had some positive obligation to choose according to their wishes or philosophies. I don't remember his promising he would only appoint candidates with paper trails.

Unlike in some countries I could name, you at least have a confirmation process where democratically elected legislators can confirm or reject. To argue on top of that the president is obliged to vet his choices in some predetermined, accountable--dare I say "politically correct"-- way strikes me as one cumbersome and worrisome theory.

Posted by: Peter B at October 12, 2005 5:55 PM

"Power naturally flows to their heads."

And Harriet Souter is made of sterner stuff?

Here is the point. A lawyer who has argued out his constituional positions in public is committed to a certain direction. Harriet Souter, having never engaged with these issues is likely to flop around unguided.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 13, 2005 12:18 AM

Robert Shwartz:

on a percentage basis, how confident are you in the assertion that Miers 'is likely to flop around unguided' ?

'likely' means you are less than 100% confident in your assertion, correct ?

my point is: you are 'likely' to be wrong.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at October 13, 2005 10:43 AM