A Religious Test

Via Joe Gandelman, this story which will certainly change the dynamics of the Miers nomination:

President Bush said Wednesday that Harriet Miers’ religious beliefs figured into her nomination to the Supreme Court as a top-ranking Democrat warned against any “wink and a nod” campaign for confirmation.

“People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “Part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.”

Bush, speaking at the conclusion of an Oval Office meeting with visiting Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, said that his advisers were reaching out to conservatives who oppose her nomination “just to explain the facts.” He spoke on a day in which conservative James Dobson, founder of Focus on Family, said he had discussed the nominee’s religious views with presidential aide Karl Rove.

While Bush and company may think this is a clever way to reassure the base that Miers will ‘vote the right way’ on Roe and other social issues, this is a disastrous calculation, as well as patently offensive. Most conservatives (and, in all likelihood, most liberals) recognize that she will probably vote against Roe. Roe, however, is not the only issue facing the Supreme Court, and, as Andrew Sullivan noted, this misuse of an individual’s religious affiliation and beliefs for crass political motives smacks in the face of what most conservatives claim to want- someone who will faithfully interpret the constitution:

It seems to me that the personal religious faith of a nominee to the Supreme Court is completely irrelevant to the job in question. Interpreting a secular constitution requires no religious faith or affiliation. If the president really does believe that faith is an actual qualification for the court, then once again he has stepped over a line between church and state. Religion should neither qualify nor disqualify someone from SCOTUS.

Which is precisely what Bush and company are now doing- pushing Harriet Miers’ religious conversion to evangelical Christianity as not only the chief selling point, but, some would observe, a qualification. Before today, all the President’s men were doing this through vague reassurances, winks and nods, and references to her religious beliefs, but we now have the President himself stating that a main reason for her selection is her religious beliefs.

Let’s flash back, if you will, to one of the more offensive moments in the Republican Party’s recent past- Justice Sunday:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking President Bush’s nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day “Justice Sunday” and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading “the filibuster against people of faith,” it reads: “The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith.”

In other words, an attempt was made to portray those who opposed Bush’s nominees as having a religious qualification test. It was an outright lie, it was offensive, and as I remarked earlier it was as if they were saying “If you don’t share our politics, you hate the baby Jesus. If you don’t share our politics, you hate religious people.”

Republicans waxed eloquent about the establishment cause, about how people could serve on the court and not have their religious beliefs interfere with their judgement, about how Democrats and other were against people of faith, and so on. I didn’t buy it then, and felt that it was simply an attempt to bully nominees through by using religion as a blunt instrument against political opposition.

But, oh, how the times have changed these past few months. It turns out that now, in fact, religion IS a partial qualification and that the religious views of a candidate are a material aspect of their fitness to serve. After all, as Bush himself has stated, “Part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.”

And if anyone is pissed at this latest bit of nonsense, it should be the evangelical base. After this, they can have Justice Sunday every god damned Sunday for the rest of their lives, and they can’t say a damned thing if Democrats ask whether a person’s religious beliefs may unduly influence their judgement. When Joe Biden is up there talking at length about whether or not Harriet Miers can judge Roe fairly with her religious beliefs such an important part of her life, before James Dobson’s head explodes, he best remember who is to blame- Bush and the White House.

After all- if a person’s religious beliefs are enough of a reason to confirm someone- shouldn’t it reason that those same religious beliefs could be used to deny confirmation?






97 replies
  1. 1
    Doug says:

    I’m not really convinced that “most conservatives” are really interested in a faithful interpretation of the constitution. Unless maybe you define “conservative” the right way.

    So, maybe I’m saying that I’m not convinced that “most Republicans” are really interested in a faithful interpretation of the constitution. And by that, I don’t mean that they want an unfaithful interpretation. My experience is that, by and large, most Americans don’t really have a clear idea of what is in the Constitution. Mostly, they don’t seem to have read it since high school, if at all. And, certainly, something like knowing what the Federalist Papers are or said is just something most Americans haven’t had time to brush up on.

    Mostly (my anectdotal experience suggests), it seems that they know that the Court has made a decision they don’t like and some commentator or other has told me that the decision wasn’t well grounded in the Constitution. So, to the extent Bush is trying to assure a certain segment of Christianity that Miers view of the Constitution will agree with theirs, I think his statement will help a little. But, I also think it opens up a bunch of other problems, particularly with more intellectual sorts of conservatives.

    The question, I think, is whether the Republican Party is made up more of intellectual conservatives such as yourself, or more of the kind of conservative Christian who will be soothed by knowing that Harriet Miers is one of their own.

  2. 2
    guyermo says:

    When mixing religion and government, it is good to remember Article VI of the United States Constitution:

    Article. VI.

    Clause 1: All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

    Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    In taking Meirs’ religious beliefs under consideration, it sounds suspiciously like he imposed a religious qualification to the Supreme Court nominations.

    Unfortunately criticism of Bush for violating the constitution depends on whether or not this was meant as part of a nomination or confirmation process. If it was meant exclusively as confirmation, then it has nothing to do with the nomination process. If it is intended to be applied to nomination as well…then President Bush made a very interesting political statement.

    I wonder how a strict constructionist would rule….

  3. 3
    Veeshir says:

    I try to never do this, but…
    What John Cole said.

  4. 4
    M.A. says:

    While Bush and company may think this is a clever way to reassure the base that Miers will ‘vote the right way’ on Roe and other social issues, this is a disastrous calculation, as well as patently offensive. Most conservatives (and, in all likelihood, most liberals) recognize that she will probably vote against Roe.

    See, I think most conservatives don’t recognize this, which is what’s driving some of the opposition. Dobson may think that because she’s his co-religionist she’ll vote his way; more sophisticated social-cons get that it’s not all that easy to overturn Roe at this point unless you’re armed with some crackpot philosophy about reading the Constitution without reference to anything but the text (as Thomas does). Some of the authors of Roe were personally pro-life, after all.

    I’m not saying she won’t overturn Roe (though Laura Bush’s support would suggest that as a possibility), just that even for those who are all Roe all the time, this may be problematic. So Bush’s attempt to reassure the conservatives by assuring them that she’s religious is not only stupid and offensive, but irrelevant.

  5. 5
    srv says:

    The question, I think, is whether the Republican Party is made up more of intellectual conservatives such as yourself, or more of the kind of conservative Christian who will be soothed by knowing that Harriet Miers is one of their own.

    Does anyone really believe the former?

  6. 6
    guyermo says:

    a note to my previous comment:

    the end of Clause 3 could also mean that it is illegal to say only Lutherans can be Senators, Catholics Judges, and Jews Representatives.

    It’s a vague clause that could easily get both sides (or me in this case) in trouble for mis-interpretation.

  7. 7
    Lines says:

    How about if the Shrubinator had appointed a Muslim? Harriet Muhamdah? She could trade in her black robes for her black burkha!

    And we could have Bush on record saying: “People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Muhamdah. They want to know Harriet Muhamdah’s background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. Part of Harriet Muhamdah’s life is her religion….”

    So if the Shrub said he’s appointing a Muslim because of her religion, you’d also be ok with that?

  8. 8
    Mac Buckets says:

    “People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “Part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.”

    but we now have the President himself stating that a main reason for her selection is her religious beliefs.

    John, I think you whiffed on this one. First of all, your statement does not logically follow from either one of Bush’s. Second, that edit of Bush’s statement was highly prejudicial. The full statement actually went:

    “People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “They want to know Harriet Miers’ background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.”

    Bush’s statement in no way says that her religion was any part of his decision-making. He merely made several statements of fact which, when cleverly edited, can kinda sorta make it sound, to those already inclined to believe it, like Bush possibly picked her in part for her religion.

  9. 9
    Lines says:

    OOOooops, I cross posted that as this seemed more appropriate, but the cries of religious persecution havn’t started in this thread yet, so my post here is early.

  10. 10
    neil says:

    Man, maybe I am just too good at detecting hypocrisy or something, but I didn’t even blink when I read the original story here. Obviously there is a religious litmus test on judges; obviously this double standard of ‘democrats can’t oppose religious judges/republicans must nominate religious judges’ always existed, and was behind Justice Sunday from the start. I don’t know theocons from squat, but I’d be frankly shocked if many Justice Sunday viewers see a contradiction here.

  11. 11
    scs says:

    John you need to calm down on this Meirs pick. I’m starting to worry about your castration complex. Just out of curiosity, which woman would you have instead recommended he pick?

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Religion is supposed to be a personal issue. I never knew religion was a qualification for the SC. Who gets to decide what is the qualifing religion?

    Some of the religious groups are moving away from worshiping a higher power to just wanting power.

  13. 13
    Lines says:

    Yeah John, why are you worried about a religious litmus test being used on a crony appointment? I mean, its not like she’s underqualified, synchophantic and invisible to public scrutany or anything.

  14. 14
    Clever says:

    http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/gener.....?oid=19453

    link has video, snip

    Pat Robertson threatens retaliation against conservative senators who oppose Miers

    He named James Dobson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jay Sekulow of the Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, and himself as proof of support for Miers’ nomination from the Right.

    Robertson concluded by noting: “These so-called movement conservatives don’t have much of a following, the ones that I’m aware of. And you just marvel, these are the senators, some of them who voted to confirm the general counsel of the ACLU to the Supreme Court, and she was voted in almost unanimously. And you say, ‘now they’re going to turn against a Christian who is a conservative picked by a conservative President and they’re going to vote against her for confirmation.’ Not on your sweet life, if they want to stay in office.”

    What the hell is going on? What does this change as to Miers qualifications?

  15. 15
    Defense Guy says:

    …like Bush possibly picked her in part for her religion.

    Even if he did, which I am inclined to believe was a factor, no test means no test. It does not mean that he can only pick people who have no religion, it simply means it cannot be a factor in qualification for office.

    I’m not thrilled with the pick, and I’m not thrilled that he even mentioned her religion.

  16. 16

    My theory is that Bush selected Miers because he wanted somebody who’s willing to play the religious activist on cases like Schiavo. A standard-issue judicial conservative won’t do, because it takes an activist unencumbered by philosophical principles.

  17. 17
    Veeshir says:

    The question, I think, is whether the Republican Party is made up more of intellectual conservatives such as yourself, or more of the kind of conservative Christian who will be soothed by knowing that Harriet Miers is one of their own.

    Does anyone really believe the former?
    Yes. I just hope so, but lots of younger Republicans believe it.
    I have a friend who is about 25 and she wants to become a politician. I forget how we got on the subject, but I mentioned that I was afraid the Moral Majority types would start to feel that they had power and try to take over the GOP. She said that was silly. She obviously is too young to remember when they had a fair amount of power in the GOP.
    The Schiavo deal made me even more leery.

  18. 18
    Andrei says:

    Something fun for everyone:

    Go to Google, type “Failure” and click I’m Feeling Lucky.

    Enjoy.

  19. 19
    Darrell says:

    Andrei Says:

    Something fun for everyone:

    Go to Google, type “Failure” and click I’m Feeling Lucky.

    HaHaHaHa. no one has ever heard of that one before Andrei. What are you, 13 years old?? No doubt you laugh uncontrollably at the sound of farts too.

  20. 20
    ppGaz says:

    John, you are right on the button again.

    (And please don’t tell anyone, but I agree with Veeshir too.

    Oh God, the shame of it.)

  21. 21
    Andrei says:

    HaHaHaHa. no one has ever heard of that one before Andrei. What are you, 13 years old?? No doubt you laugh uncontrollably at the sound of farts too.

    You try to insult me with the kind of insults a 13 year old would make?

    /golfclap

  22. 22
    tmoor says:

    True to form, Bush offers a new rationale each day regarding his decision to nominate Miers. The latest “Christian” defense is a means to an end.

    However, it’s worth noting that Miers is no ordinary Christian, she’s an Evangelical Christian, unlike the majority of Americans who identify themselves as Christian. The difference does matter.

    Evangelicals believe the godless “persecute” them for being Christians.
    Evangelicals draw inspiration from Matthew 5:11-12 which says, “God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted too.”

    So, Bush and company are going to play the feigned righteous indignation card — how dare anyone persecute Miers for her religious beliefs. It’s the rallying cry that the fundamentalists can support. After all, their Christian faith is being called into question. But their faith is different the Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, etc., all of which aren’t good enough.

    One must be born again in the Evangelical world, otherwise you don’t get to go to the big dance during Armageddon – the coming judgment for those who reject God’s redemption.

    Non-Christians can forget about it altogether. Muslims remember it’s 9-11, 9-11, 9-11 all the time in Bush land and Jews, well your people were complicit in Christ’s execution — something Evangelicals can’t seem to forget.

  23. 23
    Andrei says:

    Ok Darrell… here’s a better link for you. HT to Mr. Sullivan of course.

  24. 24
    Elinor Dickey says:

    I can’t help but think that if she were some other religion, say Muslim or Jewish, a lot of these liberals who are lining up to bash the president for mentioning her faith would be applauding him for promoting “diversity”. What’s so scary about picking someone based on their faith? Faith *is* a very important part of Harriet Miers’ life. It helps make her what she is. What is so horribly wrong with that?

  25. 25
    Elinor Dickey says:

    My theory is that Bush selected Miers because he wanted somebody who’s willing to play the religious activist on cases like Schiavo.

    That’s a contradiction in terms. A religious judge is by definition one who believes in strict constructionism. Look at Judge Scalia for example.

  26. 26
    Vladi G says:

    Bush’s statement in no way says that her religion was any part of his decision-making. He merely made several statements of fact which, when cleverly edited, can kinda sorta make it sound, to those already inclined to believe it, like Bush possibly picked her in part for her religion.

    Wow, talk about a stretch. He basically says the same thing three times, and somehow eliminating the redundancy is cherry picking. He may as well have said:

    “People are interested to know why I like candy,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “They want to know how candy tastes. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And candy is sweet ”

    Mac would of course reply “b-b-but Bush didn’t say he likes candy because it’s sweet! You totally took that out of context!!”

    Gimme a freaking break.

  27. 27
    Lines says:

    Vlad, thats the kind of world they live in, they just allow the rest of us to parse in it.

  28. 28

    […] Today however, something certainly worrying happened, as President Bush said: “People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “Part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.” […]

  29. 29
    Steven D says:

    At Roberts’ hearings, the Rs went out of their way to say that Roberts’ Catholicism or any other nominees religion was not an appropriate topic of inquiry. I happen to agree with that. The President has now squarely made Ms. Miers religion the centerpiece of the nomination. Which R Senator gets to ask the religion questions?

  30. 30

    That’s a contradiction in terms. A religious judge is by definition one who believes in strict constructionism. Look at Judge Scalia for example.

    Judge Scalia is exactly the kind of judge they don’t want; he has a coherent theory of constitutional interpretation that he’s not willing to discard to get the right answer. He’s not especially religious either, as far as I can tell.

  31. 31

    Vladi G. is right: Bushie-poo did pick Harry for her religion, and he’s as much as said so several times. If Harry goes down, it will be a productive out for the Bibliocons.

  32. 32
    M.A. says:

    Elinor Dickey wrote:

    A religious judge is by definition one who believes in strict constructionism.

    This is, of course, stupid. The debates over how to interpret religious texts exactly mirror the debates over constitutional interpretations, and there is a broad spectrum within religion ranging from Biblical literalists (or “strict constructionists”) through various degrees of interpretation, including applying Biblical law to modern realities (what does the Bible say about whether you can drive your Buick on the Sabbath)? Your belief that “judges of faith” will be “strict constructionists” is just part of your psychotic delusional belief that all religious people will reach the same conclusions as you on every issue.

  33. 33
    Tractarian says:

    Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    Here’s something to ask the “strict constructionists”: should Bush be impeached for unilaterally abrogating treaties made under the authority of the United States?

  34. 34
    Geek, Esq. says:

    Scalia’s Catholicism is said to inform his judicial philosophy–he treats constitutional text like scripture.

  35. 35

    Catholics aren’t generally all loopy over scripture, Geek; that’s why they have the dude in Rome with the funny hats.

  36. 36
    Mitch says:

    What’s your problem? You voted for it, John. And given the chance, you’d do it again. Nice president you picked.

  37. 37

    […] No comment … John Cole says it all.   [Permalink] [Trackback URL] […]

  38. 38
    Darrell says:

    Nice president you picked.

    He has problems for sure, but still miles better than John “reporting for duty” Kerry

  39. 39
    Steven D says:

    Maybe inches, Darrell, but certainly not miles.

  40. 40
    Darrell says:

    Like DG, I’m not at all thrilled that Bush mentioned Mier’s religion. It makes it seem like he’s suggesting she could be an activist for a religious agenda. But most conservatives like me just want a qualified justice who would impartially carry out the law. Bush is asking us to buy a pig-in-a-poke

  41. 41
    Mac Buckets says:

    “People are interested to know why I like candy,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “They want to know how candy tastes. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And candy is sweet ”

    Mac would of course reply “b-b-but Bush didn’t say he likes candy because it’s sweet! You totally took that out of context!!”

    No, I wouldn’t say you took it out of context, because that’s not the correct criticism. The correct criticism would be that there is a logical disconnect.

    You choose candy as your hopelessly simplistic and inapt comparison because candy essentially has only one property, while a judge (or any person) presumably has many, many qualities.

    A more correct analogy might go something like this (since I just saw John Madden on TV):

    “People are interested to know why I like John Madden,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “They want to know John Madden’s background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of John Madden’s life is riding in a giant bus.”

    You’d say “Bush likes Madden only because he rides in a giant bus?” That’s just lazy logic.

  42. 42
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    Is it only me? I thought for a moment Bush was channeling Tom Cruise? Wrong religion. Right attitude.

  43. 43
    scs says:

    By the way, here is some proof of sexism I wanted to write. Remember how the left was trumpeting Al Gonzales, one of Bush’s personal lawyers, as a possible palatable pick for the Supreme Court? I believe this was going on even before he was appointed Attorney General by Bush and then right after Rehnquist got sick, when he had only been AG a few months? Was Al Gonzales ever a judge? No. Was he ever some noted national legal scholar? No. Did all the media pundits who were trying to push him ever talk about his lack of heft or lack qualifications? Not once. This is still SO sexism and it still makes me nauseous.

  44. 44
    scs says:

    Sorry, I take that back. Just looked it up. Gonzales was a Texas judge from 1999 to 2001, then he became White House counsel. Okay. But hardly some long judical career.

  45. 45
    ppGaz says:

    What’s so scary about picking someone based on their faith?

    “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
    US Constitution Article 6

  46. 46
    Vladi G says:

    No, I wouldn’t say you took it out of context, because that’s not the correct criticism.

    First, you complain about the edit. What is a complaint about an edit if not a reference to context?

    You’d say “Bush likes Madden only because he rides in a giant bus?” That’s just lazy logic.

    Yeah, I might say that, if I was stupid enough to believe that riding a giant bus has anything to do with how one shapes their opinions. You’re seriously comparing something as fundamental as one’s religious beliefs with how one chooses to travel? I was right the first time. You’re either a moron, or dishonest.

  47. 47
    Krista says:

    Bush is asking us to buy a pig-in-a-poke

    And this is different from the rest of his presidency how…? As I said in another thread, the man is so blindly arrogant, and feels entitled to do whatever he damned well pleases, no matter how nonsensical, ill-advised, or politically stupid. He’s like Lucy with the football, telling America to come back for one more kick, saying “Trust me!”, even though America’s lying on its back with its wind knocked out, from the last time it fell for that shit.

  48. 48
    Elinor Dickey says:

    Gonzales was a Texas judge from 1999 to 2001, then he became White House counsel. Okay. But hardly some long judical career.

    That’s what makes me think there’s some kind of sexism here. That everyone was ready to sign off Gonzales but have “reservations” about Miers. It seems like Gonazles Harvard Law Degree versus Miers SMU degree influences people two. I think it’s ridiculous that someone who meets so many of the requirements — a trailblazer in her field, a woman, and a bona fide conservative — is getting shot down because of sexism and elitism. Things haven’t changed so much as people like to think,

  49. 49
    TallDave says:

    an attempt was made to portray those who opposed Bush’s nominees as having a religious qualification test.

    I don’t know, that actually sounds like a pretty accurate description of what Democrats have done.

    religion IS a partial qualification

    Well, here’s the mistake I think you’re making: you’re saying it’s not OK to be anti-religious, but it’s not OK to be pro-religious either.

    And that’s not a standard we apply elsewhere. For instance, Miers is a woman and Bush was looking for a woman. Does that mean Bush inappropriately applied a “gender litmus test?” Isn’t her sex immaterial to her qualifications? Isn’t it sexist to have her gender play any role in the nomination?

    If she were a minority and Bush was looking for a minority, would we say “Aha! A minority litmus test!”?

  50. 50
    scs says:

    I agree. Even though Bush appointed Gonzales a judge in Texas, from January 1999 to January 2001, so basically for two years, I bet if you had asked the average person who was mulling over Gonzales a little while ago as the first Hispanic justice, whether he was a good pick, they would have said ‘yes’. I bet also that the average person had NO IDEA that Gonzales had been a judge, as he had been White House Council for some time now. I wonder what it was people felt made him so qualified. So do those two years as a Bush appointed Texas judge make the difference between night and day in terms of qualifications? I guess for some people, yes. In my opinion, that sounds a bit thin to me, as two years over a 40 year career shoudn’t make that much difference for anything. And to me, it definitely shouldn’t be the difference between respect and total ridicule.

  51. 51
    Elinor Dickey says:

    The sexism I almost take for granted, but the elitism just seems so over the top to me. What does where you went to law school have to do with how good a judge you’ll be? I understand that a Harvard Law grad might be a better lawyer on average than a SMU grad (though I would question how true that is), but what does that have to do with being a judge? You learn how to be a lawyer, not a judge, in law school.

  52. 52
    scs says:

    I still wonder if the pick’s name was Harry Miers instead of Harriet if the tone of the conversation would be the same.

  53. 53
    ppGaz says:

    I think it’s ridiculous that someone who meets so many of the requirements—a trailblazer in her field, a woman, and a bona fide conservative—is getting shot down

    These are “requirements?” Why not nominate Bay Buchanan, then, or Ann Coulter?

    Oh wait, Bay Buchanan is a man. Sorry.

  54. 54
    ppGaz says:

    I still wonder if the pick’s name was Harry Miers instead of Harriet if the tone of the conversation would be the same.

    Hmm, well in that case Elinor would be wondering why he’s wearing that blue suit that makes him look so dowdy.

  55. 55
    tzs says:

    When we have an avowed atheist being seriously nominated for the Supreme Court, then I’ll believe there’s not a religious litmus test. There’s one, dammit. If you aren’t a nice God-fearing Christian (Jews are allowed if they sneak in through the side door) fuhgeddabahtit.

    …and can you imagine the ruckus if they nominated a Muslim? Whee whoo.

  56. 56
    scs says:

    Hmm, well in that case Elinor would be wondering why he’s wearing that blue suit that makes him look so dowdy.

    Have to admit, that was pretty funny.

  57. 57
    Defense Guy says:

    I understand why ppGaz puts so much emphasis on the no religous test clause, and why in light of this it is worrisome that Bush would even mention her qualifications on this benchmark, but think that it is too simplistic. If there is to be no test, than it means none either way, neither can it be a qualification nor a disqualification. Simply put, it’s not something that the government should consider as a reason for her suitability for the high court.

    She can be as religous as she wants, can let than influence her individual and personal choices in life, including those made as a judge. She may not allow this to override her duty, should she be granted it, to stay true to the source of law in this land. I hope for her sake and for the rest of us who understand that our laws allow us our ability to worship as we deem correct, she undertands this. If she cannot, she must not take the position. She may never allow herself to think that she is an arbiter of G-ds law, as that role is filled.

  58. 58
    ppGaz says:

    I understand why ppGaz puts so much emphasis on the no religous test clause

    No you don’t. You understand nothing about this.

    First of all, it’s the title of the thread. I didn’t name the thread. Second, I didn’t write a thesis on it, I simply quoted half of a sentence from the Constitution. What you make of it is up to you.

    The text either means what is says, or it doesn’t. You do believe that the text is plain-spoken and means what it says, don’t you?

  59. 59

    The Bush Administration Should Know It’s In Big Trouble When….

    ….predictions that there’s a chance the end of this administration could be near are coming

  60. 60
    Multifaria says:

    Battle is joined

    If you have long suspected that religious conservatives have long harbored a desire to take over the government, install religious extremists in positions of power, and roll back decades of gains on any of a number of issues, then your long-held suspic

  61. 61
    Beej says:

    And where do you learn to be a judge, Elinor? You learn it on the bench. Generally that means that you start on a state trial bench, perhaps get appointed to the federal bench, and then, if you are a very, very good judge, you get appointed to SCOTUS. Does Ms. Miers fit any of this criteria? And, yes, it is true that there have been a number of SCOTUS justices who were not judges. However, I think you will find, with a little research, that all of these were:(a. political officeholders who had to deal with the ramifications of the laws they passed or administered every day, (b. law school professors who had published extensively in the area of legal scholarship. Ms. Miers fits neither of these criteria either. Maybe it is something more than just her gender which has caused so many to question her qualifications.

    Incidentally, there are many, many female judges out there who do fit one or more of the criteria. If the President had really valued qualifications over, say cronyism or some religious litmus test, he could have picked any one of them.

  62. 62
    Veeshir says:

    The Bush Administration Should Know It’s In Big Trouble When….

    ….predictions that there’s a chance the end of this administration could be near are coming

    Now that’s funny. I mean stupidly funny. The predictions for the end of this administration have begun since about December, 2000 when he didn’t have a mandate and they’ve only gotten stronger more strident since.

    I know exactly when this administration’s end will be. January, 2009.

    But keep up the “moderation”, it makes me laugh.

  63. 63

    […] Cole has the story and links about Harriet Miers’ true qualifications for the Supreme Court – at least as far as the president is concerned. He also explains how it is so very unconservative. Hefiles this one under “Republican Stupidity.”      […]

  64. 64
    Baron Elmo says:

    This armchair political observer believes that Harriet Miers was chosen as part of a bold (if ultimately wrongheaded) White House strategy to keep Roe v Wade from being overturned, not vice versa. Sounds nutty, you say?

    Consider this: Roe v Wade was the biggest windfall for the Republican Party since LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act (which caused millions of outraged Southern segregationists to drift GOP-ward back in the Sixties), and its repeal would bring on an instantaneous, tsunami-sized backlash from the larger, non-biblethumping portion of our fair nation… setting the party up to get hit with their most disastrous election results since the Great Depression.

    Furthermore, the abortion issue is what mobilizes the religious right on the GOP’s behalf. It gets them out of their homes to beat on doors, stuff envelopes and staff phone banks… and empties their wallets to rain down cash like golden blessings from Jehovah on such Republican warriors of morality as Brownback and Santorum. Porno, prayer in schools, raunchy TV shows and movies, Creation Science, rap music, even gay marriage… let’s face it, none of these issues can get the Cultural Right types beating their moral outrage stiff like the sweet stench of Roe. Abortions may terminate human lives, but they also feed the elephant.

    The problem for Republicans in general (and Bush in particular) is that the religious right has been waiting for a long, long time for this moment in history… their well-earned payoff for three decades of money, blood, sweat and tears, all joyously given in the name of the GOP. For lo these many years the Republican party has, when confronted with the bloody spectre of abortion, jerked a disdainful thumb back at the Supreme Court and shrugged “Not much WE can do about it, brethren… it’s up to THOSE guys.”

    And now millions of churchgoing Americans are standing as one man at their party’s door, bill clutched in hand… demanding that their bought-and-supposedly-paid-for politicians give them a Court nominee who will deliver up Roe v Wade on a plate, an apple crammed firmly into its odious jowls.

    What better choice could Bush make than a candidate who is religious enough to pass muster with the Holy Rollers of the GOP, yet can be relied on to toe whatever line Bush and Rove draw in the sand?

    But fifteen or so years after the fact, fundamentalists are still smarting over the David Souter “betrayal,” and are unwilling to risk yet another dark horse nominee, even from God’s own good ol’ boy George W. Bush. No, they want nothing less than a fire-breathing God-warrior who equates aborted fetuses to Holocaust victims and has personally urinated on Charles Darwin’s grave.

    Funny thing… that’s exactly the kind of candidate Bush and his handlers SHOULD have selected – a Roy Moore knuckle-dragger type who would be instantly filibustered into oblivion by the Dems. Then Bush could throw up his hands and mutter “Well, I tried… but those Christ-hatin’ Democrats don’t WANT God represented on the Soo-preme Court,” then pick, oh… Alberto Gonzalez.

    But I suppose that the strategy of losing a battle to win a war might be too bitter a pill for our president to choke down.

    As for Miers…? Even odds says she pulls or gets pulled out before the confirmation hearings commence.

  65. 65
    Jill says:

    Re: Baron Elmo’s comment:

    Elmo, you’re absolutely right, that without Roe, the Christofascist Zombie Brigade (TM Marc Maron) has no reason to turn out and vote. Not to mention that without Roe, all those so-called Christians who molest their daughters won’t be able to take them off to the abortion clinic to “get rid of the evidence”.

  66. 66
    Tractarian says:

    That’s what makes me think there’s some kind of sexism here. That everyone was ready to sign off Gonzales but have “reservations” about Miers. It seems like Gonazles Harvard Law Degree versus Miers SMU degree influences people two.

    Wrong. Everyone was not “ready to sign off” on Gonzales, and anyone who has been even slightly paying attention these past few months would know that.

    And yes, the Harvard Law degree does influence people. Not so much for the quality of education you get at these schools – I went to a top-5 law school and I guarantee I could have gotten just as good of an education at SMU – but because of what it takes to get into these schools. To get into Harvard or Yale, you have to have graduated at the top of your class at a top college. Personally, I don’t think Miers’ degree counts against her – I think SMU grads are just as likely to be good judges as Yale grads. But that’s not the prevailing opinion.

    I think it’s ridiculous that someone who meets so many of the requirements—a trailblazer in her field, a woman, and a bona fide conservative—is getting shot down because of sexism and elitism. Things haven’t changed so much as people like to think,

    Wrong again. Miers was not a “trailblazer” in her field, any more than W. was a “trailblazer” in his field (the first Texas governor born in Connecticut!). Is she a bona fide conservative? Possibly, but if you know that for sure then you know something the rest of us don’t. Have you been talking to Dobson?

  67. 67
    Defense Guy says:

    No you don’t. You understand nothing about this.

    Condsidering the source, I won’t fret about what you assume I know.

    First of all, it’s the title of the thread. I didn’t name the thread. Second, I didn’t write a thesis on it, I simply quoted half of a sentence from the Constitution. What you make of it is up to you.

    You posted it in 2 seperate comments. Maybe it’s the early onset that caused you to forget.

    The text either means what is says, or it doesn’t. You do believe that the text is plain-spoken and means what it says, don’t you?

    I do, and it means no tests either way, just as I said.

  68. 68
    Shygetz says:

    I do, and it means no tests either way, just as I said.

    So the fact that Bush said that her evangelicalism played a role in her nomination bothers you, or no? The fact that Bush needed to placate his evangelical voting block was just coincidence, and he really think that Meirs is the most qualified candidate (which flies in the face of any reasonable definition of “qualified”)?

    Or do we go with the simplest explanation, which was that Bush knew that he needed to nominate an evangelical Christian with no voting record to both satisfy his evangelical base and get past confirmation in the Senate? If we go with that explanation, then Bush imposed an unconstitutional religious test in choosing his nominee.

  69. 69
    Defense Guy says:

    So the fact that Bush said that her evangelicalism played a role in her nomination bothers you, or no?

    I stated as much earlier in the thread.

  70. 70
    ppGaz says:

    You posted it in 2 seperate comments.

    Wow, so this is about me saying something twice?

    My my, Defenseless Gay. Aren’t you the sharp one?

    What’s next from you …. spelling lames?

  71. 71
    Defense Guy says:

    Better than stupid homophobic retorts which it is too easy to reduce you to.

  72. 72
    Shygetz says:

    Defense Guy–Then why do you defend Meirs as a Constitutional candidate? Your point that there can’t be a test either way is irrelevant. The President did apply a religious test in choosing a nominee, and as such, this nomination is unconstitutional (and repugnant). What’s the argument about?

  73. 73
    Darrell says:

    the Christofascist Zombie Brigade

    Too many on the left are hate-filled bigots who * really do * hate Christians. That comment and others over the past day or two characterizing Christian conservatives as ‘Jeezus freaks’ who shouldn’t be allowed to have a baby Jesus manger scene on public property during christmas make this bigotry crystal clear. You want to criticize outrageous things that i some on the religious right have said or done, that’s fair game, I’ve done it myself. But what I’ve seen here is a deep rooted hateful knee jerk opposition to anything to do with Christianity. I’ll bet a majority of Christian conservatives are unhappy with the Miers pick, but none of that matters to so many of you scumbags who are only looking to take cheap shots.

  74. 74
    ppGaz says:

    Better than stupid homophobic retorts which it is too easy to reduce you to.

    Bwaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahah!

    Sorry, I meant Defenseless Goy.

  75. 75
    Defense Guy says:

    Defense Guy—Then why do you defend Meirs as a Constitutional candidate?

    I don’t. I think there were much better choices. I already stated he should have kept the religous qualifications he likes to himself.

  76. 76
    ppGaz says:

    But what I’ve seen here is a deep rooted hateful knee jerk opposition to anything to do with Christianity.

    No it isn’t, stupid little Darrell. It’s a healthy disdain for the inappropriate politicization of religion, whether it be “christianity” or any other. Your inability to tell that from “hateful knee jerk opposition to anything to do with Christianity” is just one of many reasons why you are basically a laughingstock around here.

    Also, you might want to consider the notion that rote repetition of the same bullshit over and over does not serve to make it come true. I’m just saying.

  77. 77
    Defense Guy says:

    Sorry, I meant Defenseless Goy.

    Clever, I can see why you have ego problems.

  78. 78
    Darrell says:

    ppgaz wrote:

    healthy disdain for the inappropriate politicization of religion

    Healthy disdain = “Christofascist Zombie Brigade” and “Jeezus freaks”

  79. 79
    Elinor Dickey says:

    Too many on the left are hate-filled bigots who * really do * hate Christians.

    Which is what makes Harriet Miers’ faith so important. Christians, especially evangelical Christians, are increasingly persecuted. Isn’t the Supreme Court there in part to look after the rights of those who are the victims of persecution?

  80. 80
    ppGaz says:

    Healthy disdain = “Christofascist Zombie Brigade” and “Jeezus freaks”

    Are you saying that there are NOT “jesus freaks” and “christofascists” out there? Have you ever listened to the crazed political rhetoric of some of these people? They want to overthrow constitutional government and replace it with some kind of “dominion of god” which is code for their own version of the fucking Taliban, Darrell.

    Don’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining. These people ARE there, they are politically active, they do have way too much power and influence, they are dangerous, and they deserve opposition. What’s more, opposing them has nothing to do with “hatred of christianity”. Nothing whatever.

    Try to remember high school, Darrell. If I say that I oppose christians who want to utilize the government to impose their narrow views on me, I am not saying that I oppose christianity. Hardly all or even a majority of christians fall into the category that I oppose. You are the one mistaking the specific for the general, not me.

  81. 81
    Krista says:

    Christians, especially evangelical Christians, are increasingly persecuted.

    I really fail to see how Christians are being “persecuted”. Can’t say as I’ve seen any lions running around lately. All snark notwithstanding, nobody has a problem with Christians practicing their religion. Nobody has a problem with Christians celebrating Christmas, going to church, praying, decorating their homes with religious symbols, or displaying nativity scenes in their front yards or crosses from their rearview mirror. By saying that you’re being persecuted, frankly, you’re really belittling those people in the world who HAVE genuinely been persecuted for their beliefs. There have been many people who have not dared breathe a word about their religion, and who have gone out of their way to hide their religion, out of genuine fear for their lives and for the lives of their families. When you walk down the street, wearing a cross around your neck, or when you put up your Christmas tree every year, are you afraid to do so because of what might happen to you? No? Then, with all due respect, please shut the fuck up about being persecuted.

  82. 82
    Elinor Dickey says:

    Krista, not being able to pray in school is a form of persecution. Not being able to put your religious symbols in public is a form of persecution. Being told that creation science cannot be taught in schools is a form of persecution.

  83. 83
    Krista says:

    Sorry about the outburst, everybody. It just angers me, as someone whose ancestors were deported and torn from their families, to hear people say that Christians (who basically run America right now) bitch about being “persecuted.”

  84. 84
    Krista says:

    Sorry Elinor…I can’t agree with you. I only would consider it persecution if you were not able to pray in your churches or homes, or if you could not put religious symbols on your churches or homes or private businesses, or if you could not teach creation science in Sunday school. Having limits imposed on where you can practice your religion, so as to not impede on the religious rights of others, does not equal persecution, in my book. I’ll tell you what…why don’t you bring your argument for being persecuted over to a local synagogue, and ask them if they agree with you?

  85. 85
    ppGaz says:

    Krista, not being able to pray in school is a form of persecution. Not being able to put your religious symbols in public is a form of persecution. Being told that creation science cannot be taught in schools is a form of persecution.

    Busted. You are DougJ. Nice try, though.

  86. 86
    Krista says:

    ppGaz – please tell me I didn’t waste a rare fit of temper & profanity by being reeled in by DougJ….

    Oh well…it probably amused the heck out of you, anyway, so at least that’s worth something.

  87. 87
    ppGaz says:

    ppGaz – please tell me I didn’t waste a rare fit of temper & profanity by being reeled in by DougJ….

    Oh well…it probably amused the heck out of you, anyway, so at least that’s worth something.

    No way to prove it untl he fesses, but I’d bet money that you have become another notch on DougJ’s pistol grip. He had me for a while with the Elinor gig, but he can’t help himself …. he has to go over the top eventually.

    It’s become sort of a game for me now, to spot his personas. Let’s see if “Elinor” comes clean.

  88. 88
    DougJ says:

    Yes, it’s me. Or so I would have you believe.

    I’m a little sad that I got busted before people responded to this piece of idiocy.

    Just to put in terms you can understand, how would you feel about an “art piece” called “Piss Bill Clinton” or a picture of Jimmy Carter made out of cow dung? I bet you wouldn’t like it.

    I tried something new this time: some of my comments were taken directly from things people wrote on Free Republic.

  89. 89
    Krista says:

    Well, I feel no embarassment by being reeled in by the best. You should feel honoured for having driven me around the bend like that. It’s not a very easy thing to do. Oh well. I don’t care. I had a lot of fun!!!

  90. 90
    DougJ says:

    Thanks, Krista. I would feel bad about doing this, but I think that it is good practice to argue with complete know-nothings on the right, since they control the United States government.

  91. 91
    Krista says:

    I’m a little sad that I got busted before people responded to this piece of idiocy.

    Yeah, sorry I missed that one. I thought the thread had gone dead.

    So, how’d I do? ;)

  92. 92
    DougJ says:

    You did well. You didn’t do any name calling and you made solid points.

  93. 93
    ppGaz says:

    It’s all for the best, Doug. If you hadn’t tried to push your luck with that “persecution” thing, I wouldn’t have been so sure it was you. The cow dung was a little over the top but a real Elinor might have said it.

    Elinor actually did quite well. I think she bagged me in the beginning. You’ve worked this thing into an art form now, I expect to see some really great work coming up soon. We have a slew of indictiments on the way, and the general collapse of the Spudomatic Bullshit Machine, so there will be plenty of material.

  94. 94
    Veeshir says:

    Exchange of the thread
    Defense Guy gets comeback of the thread with this

    Better than stupid homophobic retorts which it is too easy to reduce you to.

    That’s beautiful.
    Especially since ppGaz’ comeback was
    Defenseless Goy
    Right before he wrote
    healthy disdain for the inappropriate politicization of religion

    I always wonder if Karl Rove is paying people to pretend to be lefties.

  95. 95
    ppGaz says:

    That’s beautiful.

    Someday, if you ever have an actual point, you should post it. Really, I’m serious.

  96. 96
    Krista says:

    DougJ – Thank you, kind sir.

    Veeshir – umm…what? Sorry, but I’m just not getting your point, especially where it’s not in context with any recent posts on this thread at all.

  97. 97
    Kimmitt says:

    Being told that creation science cannot be taught in schools is a form of persecution.

    Okay, sorry, I get it now.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Cole has the story and links about Harriet Miers’ true qualifications for the Supreme Court – at least as far as the president is concerned. He also explains how it is so very unconservative. Hefiles this one under “Republican Stupidity.”      […]

  2. Multifaria says:

    Battle is joined

    If you have long suspected that religious conservatives have long harbored a desire to take over the government, install religious extremists in positions of power, and roll back decades of gains on any of a number of issues, then your long-held suspic

  3. The Bush Administration Should Know It’s In Big Trouble When….

    ….predictions that there’s a chance the end of this administration could be near are coming

  4. […] No comment … John Cole says it all.   [Permalink] [Trackback URL] […]

  5. […] Today however, something certainly worrying happened, as President Bush said: “People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “Part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.” […]

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