Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Souter? I Hardly Even Knew Her!

Again my hopes - and indeed those of KAR nation - were dashed yesterday, when George Bush nominated Some Chick to the Supreme Court instead of me. Don't worry about me. I'll be OK. Take heart that John Paul Stevens is something like 107 years old, so his days on the court are numbered.

Though I really must register my dismay that Bush would appoint a woman in the interests of "diversity". C'mon! Women are, like, 50% of the population. I, on the other hand, am an Irish-Italian conservative Packer fan who lives in Minnesota and was born with 6 fingers on my left hand. As far as minorities go, it doesn't get more insular than that.

But I digress.

I think the reaction from the right to Harriet Miers' nomination has been way overwrought, and frankly, insane (the Vagina Monobloggers have a decent roundup here.) It can be summarized in two brief phrases:

1) We don't know anything about her! She sucks!

and

2) AHHHHHHH! SOUTER!! BEGONE DAMNED SOUTER IN A PANTS SUIT!!!!

The Souter analogy is getting louder and louder. But let's just get our wits about us shall we? There are some things worth noting that tend to belie the Souter Analogy, and why, even if Miers does turn out to be another Souter, there's not really anything that can be done about it.

At first, Bush the Elder's nomination of Souter wasn't the disaster that everybody thinks it was. To wit: during his first few years on the bench, he voted with Scalia and the right wing of the Court an overwhelming majority of the time. As time wore on he gradually moved to the left. How was Bush I supposed to peer into the future and see this morphing philosophy?

And lest you forget: Souter took the spot of the thouroughly awful William Brennan - quite possibly the farthest left-wing "jurist" the court has ever seen. Even today's iteration of David Souter is far far more palatable than if his place on the court had been filled by a Brennan equivalent.

Conversely, the current Bush has had Miers in close confidence for quite some time. He has gotten to know her, and is in a better position to discern whether or not she may be tempted to the Dark Side as has been the case of Souter and, on occasion (though the occasions are becoming alarmingly more frequent) Kennedy.

Souter spent 7 years on the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and 1 year on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. He was recommended by Senator Ruddman. To Bush I, Souter was nothing more than a pile of bench memos and opinions. Bush's knowledge of Miers' philosophy is much more three-dimentional.

A noted right-wing pundit objected to this line of reasoning this morning, saying something along the lines of "Miers' relationship with Bush has been that of attorney-client. When you talk to your attorney, you don't engage in discussions about the attorney's judicial philosophy."

Puh-leeeeeze.

So according to this pundit, a conversation like this took place in the White House last week:

BUSH: So Harriet, how's that memo on Gitmo coming?

MIERS: Almost done sir.

BUSH: Good. Good. Lookin' forward to perusifying it.

MIERS: Yes sir.

BUSH: Oh, by the way: I'm nominating you to the highest court in the land. Why don't you tell me a little about yourself?

In short, Bush knows this woman. Nobody else does.

Bush promised strict-constructionalist nominees. I have no reason to doubt him yet. Think about it: if Bush were really wanting to avoid a "fight" over a nominee, he could have picked a more centrist judge with a paper trail. He didn't. He nominated an unknown.

Why do you think that is?....

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