The Book of
As Studiodave alerted the world this morning, President Bush has nominated Harriet Miers -- former White House Staff Secretary and current White House Counsel -- to fill Justice O'Connor's vacancy on the Supreme Court. The media and the blogosphere are abuzz over Miers' lack of judicial experience, but honestly that's not the thing that worries me. We've had plenty of other Justices who had no prior experience as a judge, including Earl Warren and William Rehnquist, although generally they'd done something to distinguish themselves before the nomination. Miers, in contrast, seems to have been hiding under the coats for the last decade.
What really bothers me about Miers is the way in which she was selected. She was originally the head of Bush's search for a new Associate Justice, but after a couple meetings, Bush decided that he was more comfortable with the searcher than he was with any of the searchees, and so, aw, what the hell, let's just give her the seat.
Hmmm. For some reason, this process seems eerily familiar. I can't quite put my finger on where this happened before, but I'm sure it all worked out alright for everyone.
Once again, we're seeing the administration's rampant cronyism at work. As painfully documented here, what matters for advancement in the Bush administration isn't competence, intelligence, or skill. No, those things will get you fired. Just ask Eric Shinseki, Larry Lindsey and John Snow. All that matters is blind, undying loyalty. You must demonstrate to Dubya that he is your One True God, that you will follow Him wherever He goes, and fight to defend His Good Name. If you can do that, then no matter how much you screw up and no matter how obvious it is, you will be rewarded. Just ask Paul Bremer, George Tenet and that guy Brownie who's doin' a heck of a job with them hurricanes.
And make no mistake -- being a boot-licking lackey is Miers' one and only qualification. Here's what David Frum, who is himself a fairly prominent Bush loyalist, had to say about her:
I believe I was the first to float the name of Harriet Miers, White House counsel, as a possible Supreme Court [nominee]. Today her name is all over the news. I have to confess that at the time, I was mostly joking. Harriet Miers is a capable lawyer, a hard worker, and a kind and generous person. She would be an reasonable choice for a generalist attorney, which is indeed how George W. Bush first met her. She would make an excellent trial judge: She is a careful and fair-minded listener. But US Supreme Court?Well, that settles it. Welcome to the Court.
In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met.
(Thanks to Norbizness for bravely wading through David Frum's diary for the money quote.)