October 5, 2005


Harriet Miers: Finally, a Supreme Court nominee who understands real people (JOHN CORNYN, October 5, 2005, Opinion Journal)

[S]ome have criticized the president because he did not select an Ivy-League-credentialed federal appeals court judge for the open seat. I think this criticism is misplaced. For one thing, there is no evidence that service on the federal court of appeals is a prerequisite for distinguished service on the Supreme Court: 41 of the 109 justices who have served on the Supreme Court had no judicial experience at all when they were nominated. These include several luminaries from the school of judicial restraint, including the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Furthermore, Harriet Miers's background as a legal practitioner is an asset, not a detriment. She has spent her career representing real people in courtrooms across America. This is precisely the type of experience that the Supreme Court needs. The court is full of justices who served as academics and court of appeals judges before they were nominated to the bench. What the court is missing is someone who understands the consequences of its decisions on the American people. [...]

It is true that she was not educated at East Coast universities and has not spent her entire career inside the Beltway. This, again, is a plus in my book, not a minus.

Note the unsubtle suggestion that the Ivy Leaguers and Beltway types who oppose her aren't real people?

With Miers, Bush Gets Fifth Vote Against Roe (Margaret Carlson, 10/05/05, Bloomberg)

Some conservatives are loudly shocked that Bush ignored the long list of known quantities among conservative jurists in the mold of his favorites, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. It depressed Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Rush Limbaugh was so agitated Cheney gave him an interview to calm his listeners.

What those conservatives are missing is what Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, and Jay Sekulow, chief counsel to the American Center for Law & Justice, see in Miers: a fifth vote for overturning Roe v. Wade. Bush even got Dobson's approval beforehand.

Like Bush, Miers had a late-in-life born-again moment, joining a conservative evangelical church in Dallas where she taught Sunday School. [...]

Didn't he promise the base he'd turn the light on and give them a selection sure to reverse Roe?

I think he has. This time he's tricking Harry Reid.

I used to think the younger Bush was like his dad on abortion -- pro-life for purposes of getting elected, pro-choice otherwise. But I now see him as a victim of Stockholm syndrome, adopting as his own view that of his right-wing captors. My money is on Dobson knowing what Bush claims not to. Assuming Miers is confirmed, it won't be long before we all know.

Because, after all, no one could be opposed to abortion just because it's immoral and Christians are like terrorists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2005 2:23 PM

Looking at her record as a civilian (first woman hired by the Dallas law firm of Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely in 1972; the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association in 1985; the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association in 1992-93; and the first woman elected president of her large law firm, in 1996) conservatives will grit their teeth and vote to approve.

Hell of a missed opportunity though.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at October 5, 2005 2:31 PM

Of course the GOP will all vote for her.

Conservatives like Brownback and Allen have delusions, oops, ambitions of being president. Evangelicals like Dobson support her and they can't risk angering that base. Ditto McCain and his posse (Graham, DeWine), its a cheao way of placating evangelicals.

The "moderates" like the Maine Twins will certainly vote for her because she is a woman and they are hopeful that the President appointed "another Souter"

Further, Miers is more than a close asociate of the Presidents, she is a friend, both of the President and the First Lady. Senators, unlike pundits at NRO or the Washington Post, are practical politicians and will think twice about crossing the President on this nomination. Bushes have long memories.

Posted by: Bob at October 5, 2005 3:17 PM

She understands the Declaration, which means she understands the Constitution. She agrees profoundly with the real people who wrote and adopted both.

Posted by: Luciferous at October 5, 2005 3:21 PM

Yep, right-wingers will grit their teeth and put somebody on the court who will almost certainly vote to overturn Roe. You might call this some of the phoniest teeth-gritting in political history.

As the reality of Miers' pro-life zeal is setting in on both right and left, you're seeing some funny reversals. Left-winger Carlson is suddenly realizing what should have been immediately obvious: Miers could be the vote that finally topples Roe. Oh no, Harry Reid's been duped! (Duping Reid is not a stupendous achievement.)

The right-wingers on the NRO Corner have been slower on the uptake. But the smarter ones - Goldberg and Podhoretz - are waking up to the fact that, yes, Miers will do all she can to take down Roe. They're still making the Miers-is-dumb argument, but they obviously know they look pretty dumb themselves when they argue that a right-winger is bad for the Court.

I'll admit that the dimmer lights on the Corner - K-Lo, Dreher, etc. - still believe Miers is some kind of stealth left-winger. They also believe in the tooth fairy.

James Taranto on opinionjournal.com received the brainwave today and suddenly got enthusiastic about a nomination he previously hadn't cared for.

I'm getting depressed. I had hoped the right would splinter on the nomination and help keep this pro-life zealot off the court. Maybe the left will wake up in time, but Reid's such a fool.

She's gonna get confirmed. And she really might take down Roe. Damnation.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 5, 2005 3:21 PM

Casey: In all seriousness, why are you so attached to the notion that any doctor should be able to use any method he chooses to give any female of any age an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with absolutely no oversight of any kind permitted?

Posted by: b at October 5, 2005 3:45 PM

Casey: Nothing is more predictable than, when George Bush tells the right to do something, we will all fall into line.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 5, 2005 3:47 PM

Is Roe vs Wade the important case or Doe vs Bolton?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at October 5, 2005 3:47 PM



Posted by: oj at October 5, 2005 3:52 PM

Casey, Reid's at least somewhat pro-life. I don't think he's particulary broken up over the impending end of Roe.

Posted by: Timothy at October 5, 2005 4:00 PM

Casey: "Pro-life" isn't a bug, it's a feature.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 5, 2005 4:26 PM

A committed, practicing evangelical who was educated as a Roman Catholic.

This nomination is stunningly brilliant. Those people on the other side are being backed into a corner from which they have no other option but to attack Miers on the basis of her religious background alone.

Well, maybe one other. It would appear that Miers will be attacked for having advocated vigorous presecution of the war on terror--yep, that's another big winner.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 5, 2005 5:34 PM

Five? How does Carlson figure Miers would make five votes against Roe? Roberts (dare to dream), Scalia and Thomas (both on record as saying Roe should be overturned) plus Miers makes four. The other five are all solidly pro-Roe.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at October 5, 2005 5:53 PM


You may be right, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Posted by: jdkelly at October 5, 2005 6:51 PM

Okay, guys, get ready for some of the worst politics of your life once Roe v Wade is overturned. As James Taranto astutely pointed out, the Dems suffered as long as Roe stood. They were backed into the most extreme pro-abortion stance, defending every abortion up to full term. Anything less would have been viewed by their interest groups as "undermining Roe."

Meanwhile, the Repubs could support what looked to be moderate positions on abortion, like snitch laws and bans of very late-term abortions.

With Roe gone, the extremism tag will suddenly attach to the Repubs, as their interest groups try to ban all abortions everywhere. Now the Dems will suddenly look like the moderates, trying to keep first-trimester abortions legal, for instance.

The abortion issue isn't of prime concern to most voters but can definitely swing some close races. With Roe gone, the GOP will get tagged as the extreme party on abortion, and that ain't gonna help the Repubs.

Posted by: Csey Abell at October 6, 2005 8:29 AM

Casey: That's certainly the conventional wisdom. But if you EVER want abortion to fade even slightly as an issue, you should want the nation to have the debate that would follow repeal (which won't happen anytime soon, though chipping away at Roe may). Of course, at the current time the ground is more favorable to pro-lifers than it has ever been, considering you can see movies of fetuses as early as 10 weeks! A few decades ago the "just a clump of cells" argument might have been convincing, but it sure doesn't hold water anymore.

Posted by: b at October 6, 2005 11:15 AM


To the contrary, various regions of the country will adopt abortion regimes suited to their own values and populations will shift accordingly. All it will really do is accelerate the end of the Blue States, a la Europe.

Posted by: oj at October 6, 2005 11:28 AM