Why the Miers Pick Is Wrong

Matt Stinson, who I consider the best kept secret in the right wing of the blogosphere, nails it:

As much as I want to believe Patrick Ruffini’s declaration that Harriet Miers is a true blue conservative and that her confirmation would shift the Court to the right of the O’Connor era, this game of ideological vetting is rendered completely moot by one salient fact: it is not Miers’ lack of conservative bona fides but her lack of legal bona fides that has given conservatives pause…

This is not, lest talking points lead us in that direction, a masterstroke by the President and Karl Rove. (Conservatives must admit that the bloom has been off the Rove for many months now.) This is not leadership. Miers’ appointment has all the markings of a hastily-made decision that bestows a substantial benefit upon a friend of the President and (potentially) a substantial cost upon the Republic.

Read the whole thing. I am consistently amazed that more people do not link to and read Matt on a daily basis. Probably because he is too damned honest and principled.

24 replies
  1. 1
    Slide says:

    Its the same phenomena of Bush appointing people with no relevant experience to five of the top eight FEMA positions. Its reveals a total disdain for intellect, scholarship, and expertise. Bush jokes about being a proud C student. Bush boasts about not reading newspapers. Bush has always reveled in his anti-intellectual persona, why is everyone acting so surprised now?

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    I know you’re all getting sick of this but when the indictments and/or scathing report hit later this week or next week, all will become clear.

    If no indictments or scathing reports are forthcoming by October 28 (when the Grand Jury expires), I will hand my head in shame and leave this blog forever.

  3. 3
    ppGaz says:

    Yes, the buzzosphere is all atwitter over the Plame thing. We’ll see.

    But meanwhile …. I am a little confused by the reaction of the right wing here. For years they have acted as if their jihad on progressives rested squarely on overturning Roe. They have stood behind a clearly incomeptant and dangerous president because they expected him to appoint a SCOTUS justice who would be on their side.

    So Bush pulls a frat house prank on the country and nominates his office-wife-lawyer to that court for the SOLE REASON that he knows she will vote to overturn Roe. He sends every coded message to that effect that he and his team of spuds can get away with …. and STILL THEY BITCH.

    What the hell is wrong with these people? He has fucked the country for them and all they can do is whine?

  4. 4
    dano347 says:

    “What the hell is wrong with these people? He has fucked the country for them and all they can do is whine?”

    The real reason the Right doesn’t want Miers is that they know how this will be used against them in the ’06 mid-terms. Their bluster about her “qualifications” would be non-existent if Katrina hadn’t hit and exposed the ardent cronyism the Bush admin. practices on a daily basis (and which they have enabled with their support). It has nothing to do with “principals”, that’s a red herring to distract from the real reason; the Right is scared near-witless right now. If they’re relegated to minority status again (by losing big in the mid’s), it will be decades (like after Vietnam) before they have another chance at enacting their priorities. The Supremes will be the only thing they control, and it won’t be enough. If the repubs lose control next year (a very real possibility) and we’re still in Iraq (ditto) the only place the phrase “republican majority” will appear will be in history books.

  5. 5
    dano347 says:

    “If they’re relegated to minority status again (by losing big in the mid’s), it will be decades (like after Vietnam) before they have another chance at enacting their priorities.”

    Referring to “Contract with America”.

  6. 6
    p.lukasiak says:

    its really funny to see the GOP trying to make an issue of someones qualifications for the Supreme Court when they’ve been marching in lockstep to the tune of the least qualified person ever to be President for nearly five years.

    I support Miers at this point, because she is the personification of the incompetence of this administration. She will be no worse than anyone else Bush might pick to replace her — certainly, she will be better than Roberts, who is nothing more than a very bright legal hustler for corporate and right wing political interests. Miers might actually surprise us, since she actually is a “tough as nails” trailblazer, rather than a rich white male who has never met a tax break for the rich that he didn’t like.

  7. 7
    Mark-NC says:

    What amazes me here is that Bush hasn’t changed one bit. He has always been a mediocre-at-best leader with no signs that he’s given much thought to anything other than his next vacation.

    It has taken a kick-in-the-teeth on this scale to finally get the “Right” to notice.

  8. 8
    Jane Finch says:

    I believe your objections to the nomination, like those of some others like Stephen Bainbridge, are thoughtful and salient. However, in many conservative quarters, her “lack of legal bona fides” seems to boil down to “we dont’ know her stand on Roe v. Wade.” As you have stated in previous posts, abortion is hardly the most important issue facing the Supreme Court and I have to say I rather like the fact that the President nominated an abortion-rights cipher.

  9. 9
    eileen from OH says:

    Dano nails it. This is gonna cost the Republicans big time in ’06. The reason that a lot of conservatives turned out for Bush was because of the Court. They’ll stay home next time. Senators like Santorum, who’s on shaky ground already, is gonna vote for Mier? And if he doesn’t? It’s a no-win for him and he ain’t the only one.

    David Frum was just on C-Span making the same point. He thinks this nom could cost the Republicans the Senate.

    I think some on the right are truly concerned because of her lack of qualifications. But others are gonna use that as a justification for their opposition. Only tricky part is that opposing her on those grounds is basically admitting that a)Bush was an idiot for nominating her and b) maybe Presidents DO need to have a little of that ol’ advise and consent stuff. I do know that I haven’t heard much of the “she’s the President’s pick and deserves an up or down vote” stuff.

    My prediction: a family/health/pet crisis that will cause Meir to withdraw.

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    However, in many conservative quarters, her “lack of legal bona fides” seems to boil down to “we dont’ know her stand on Roe v. Wade

    Absolutely. That is why the White House is leaking stories in the press about how devout she is and how she found God and became a Republican.

    But a great number of people are also upset that she is simply not qualified.

  11. 11
    CaseyL says:

    Oh. c’mon. Aside from a new wonks, I doubt the GOP/Right really gives a shit about her qualifications or cornyism.

    She’s a near-sure bet to overturn Roe. That’s really all they care about.

    This “angsting” will pass – like all the other lamentations, over Iraq and Katrina and the deficits and Abu Ghraib – and Republicans will fall back in line, reassured that Roe will be history by this time next year.

  12. 12
    DougJ says:

    I think that many of the Senators do genuinely care about her qualifications.

    Also, let’s not forget that her lack of qualification makes her a weaker advocate for the conservative position even if she herself often votes with Scalia and Thomas. A powerhouse like McConnell or Luttig would have much more influence in moving the court to the right than another toadie like Thomas.

  13. 13
    TheocracyIsComing says:

    It’s amazing that they are using her religion to try and sell her to the radical theocrats on the right. Dobson apparently has “inside information” about her that makes him support her nomination.

    This is a new low for politicizing the courts. Conservatives have always railed against this sort of behavior and any one who associated Roberts with his strick Catholicism was deemed bordering on religious bigotry.

    The emperor has no clothes.

  14. 14
    Hippie Doug J says:

    whithouse.org pretty much nails it:


  15. 15
    Davebo says:

    I think the author is wrong about the conservative gripe on Miers.

    I’ve not heard many conservatives complain of her lack of experience. They complain that she has no track record to label her “level of conservatism” and they complain of the appearance of cronyism, but rarely do I hear complaints about job qualification.

  16. 16
    Steve Malynn says:

    John, Stinson is just wrong. Beldar has a much more reasonable take http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/

    RE: the brilliance needed to read the constitution.

    The “elites” have screwed up a pretty clear document – maybe we just need a basic practitioner who has tried jury cases – juries don’t play games about the meaning of “is”, and punish attorneys who do.

  17. 17
    Blue Neponset says:

    I think the Miers nomination is shining a spotlight on the hypocrisy of the Repubs. During the filibuster/nuclear option fight and the Roberts nomination they were jumping up and down about how only a nominee’s qualifications matter. Yet they are now pissed at Dubya for nominating someone who might not be a “true blue conservative”.

    It would be nice if we, as a nation, could act like adults and stop pretending that how a nominee might vote on a particular issue isn’t relevant to the discussion.

    Having said all of that I hope the Miers nomination is 86’ed because she really isn’t qualified. It is up to you Republicans. Is Harriet Miers the best we can do?

  18. 18
    Blue Neponset says:

    Steve Maylynn:

    maybe we just need a basic practitioner who has tried jury cases – juries don’t play games about the meaning of “is”, and punish attorneys who do.

    IIRC, John Edwards was quite a successful attorney. Would he be qualified to be a SCOTUS Justice?

  19. 19
    Shygetz says:

    No, because John Edwards is a librul, and he won’t strike down Roe v Wade or let us put homos in solitary.

    But there is no litmus test.

  20. 20
    Jim Miller says:

    Well, I looked at the Stinson post — and was not impressed. And I had earlier looked at the arguments made by Beldar (in more than one post) — and was impressed. Beldar, unlike Stinson, seems to have an open mind on the subject, relevant legal experience, and considerable direct evidence on Miers’ qualifications. (Much of it anonymous, unfortunately. But I can’t complain about that, since I have a similar rule on my site.)

    But maybe I am missing something. What exactly impressed you about Stinson’s post? (Other than the fact that he agrees with you.)

  21. 21
    John Cole says:

    Jim Miller- There was nothing particularly snazzy about that piece (other than I agree with it), but I was making a blanket endorsement of Matthew Stinson’s enitre body of work.

  22. 22
    Steve Malynn says:

    Blyeuy – less ys please.

    Edwards does not have a record of devotion to service that compares to Miers. Edwards had an epithany that drove him to successfuly seek public office at the highest level. Miers earned the respect of her peers in Dallas, then in the entire state of Texas. She was elected by lawyers to lead them. Not a mean feat. The fact that her leadership was demonstrably non-partisan is a plus. The fact that the brilliant constitutional minds that I am personally familiar with disagree over her is troubling, but when comparing her to Edwards my trouble with him would be what I percieve to be a non-originalist, non-textualist mindset.

  23. 23
    jobiuspublius says:

    Ya know, the thing about Meirs is that she could be a ploy to save some face or gain distance from the fundys.

    No, we don’t do that crony stuff. Meirs? Who is she? Oh, she is one of those crazy dobson people.

  24. 24
    donald says:

    “Another toadie like Thomas” From a man sitting at his desk with his Johnson in his hand.

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