Monday, October 03, 2005

She's Not Worthy

"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life on My account will find it."

The Book of Matthew Dubya, 10:36-39

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?

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.
Well, that settles it. Welcome to the Court.

(Thanks to Norbizness for bravely wading through David Frum's diary for the money quote.)


Thrillhous said...

I think she has one other qualification, aside from being a Bush friend and a female: She should be easily appointed. If Roberts scooted in with only 2 years of judicial experience and without really saying anything about his beliefs, how can the demicrats oppose her?

Otto Man said...

Well, at least with Roberts the slim qualifications were at least tangentially related to the job. Clerked for the Court, served in the Solicitor General's office dealing with the Court, and argued before the Court himself some 38 times. Miers, meanwhile, was a private attorney and then White House Staff Secretary -- the person who reviews the papers crossing Bush's desk -- before very recently getting the Counsel's job.

Even Daryn Kagan, i.e. She Who Sleeps with Limbaugh, has been commenting with a dropped jaw about how slim her qualifications are.

I think the Dems need to raise a stink about her, and do so in the context of Bush's cronyism. People are already in tune to this theme thanks to Brownie, and you can certainly make a case for SCOTUS being more important to our lives than FEMA.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if some Dems let her slide. The right's up in arms about her, and she's not going to make a lasting contribution to the court either in terms of her intellectual contributions or longevity.

ORF said...

Wow, that is a frighteningly damning quote from the Frumster. He is the Vice Chief of Sliminess, second only to Karl Rove, in the administration so for him to naysay something Bush is doing is fairly weighted.

I disagree that Meirs will be a shoo-in, however. I think the Dems agreed to be fairly low-resistence to Roberts in an effort to establish a quid pro quo in regards to O'Connor's replacement. Roberts is rather uncontroversial but Meirs will get laughed right out of the approval hearings, especially if Harry Reid has anything to do with it, which he will since he's on the Judiciary Committee. If Reid was concerned about Roberts' lack of experience, he will set off all kinds of stink bombs about Meirs'. Bush would be better off to nominate freaking Karen Hughes and given the way she licks his balls like a labrador in need of a bitch, well, she'd totally sign up for it too. (Altho I think she'd get voted down just for having man hands...ugh!)

Otto Man said...

By the way, in case you can't tell from the photo's small size, that's Miers with Dubya on one of his forty-eight ranch adventures.

When she's unable to tell us about her stance on privacy, abortion and affirmative action, I'm sure we'll get an earful of just how manly the president was in clearing brush from the ranch. Again.

Thrillhous said...

You could be right, ORF, but so far Reid has been pretty positive about it. He issued a statement saying that he likes her and thinks she'd be a great addition to the court. Of course, he notes that she's still got to get through the hearing, so he's not outright endorsing her yet.

I guess it's wait and see for awhile. I certainly am enjoying the right's Rumpelstilskin dance for now.

Otto Man said...

Actually, Reid has said he has no problem with Miers, and Schumer and Feinstein have made similar noises. Schumer was more on the fence than the other two, saying that we know nothing about her.

From their point of view, the Miers nomination (like the Roberts one) has to seem so much better than what they were bracing for -- either a real rightwing nutcase like Luttig, Brown, or Owens, who'd finally push the Court's balance to the far right, or else a formidable conservative thinker like McConnell or Wilkinson, someone who'd strengthen the Court's conservative chops.

Miers is neither of those. A bit of a cipher, and likely to be an echo vote for Roberts (sort of like Thomas is with Scalia), but nothing too dangerous.

On a related note, I keep getting the feeling that he's nominating Miss Landingham from "The West Wing." Old friend, White House Staff Secretary, and fiesty old lady.

Otto Man said...

Here's the Reid statement, by the way:

"I personally think that I would like to see someone who has not had judicial experience. I think that we need somebody to go on that Court in the mold of the people on the Berger court, people who have not spent their lifetime holed up in some office writing opinions and reading briefs. One of the people that’s being talked about is Harriet Miers, his own lawyer. At the meeting we had with the president last week, we were in the office he has there; I was there, Frist was there, Leahy was there, and Specter was there, plus Andy Card and the vice president. I said, “The vice president got here in a very unusual way. He was chosen by you to find a candidate to be your vice president. You liked the person in charge of finding a candidate better than the people he chose.” I said, “I think that rather than rather than looking at the people your lawyer’s recommending, pick her.” ... The reason I like her is that she’s the first woman to be president of the very, very large Texas bar association, she was a partner in a law firm, she’s actually tried cases, she was a trial lawyer, and she’s had experience here. I could accept that. And if that fits into the cronyism argument, I will include everybody as a crony, but not her, when I make my case."

Thrillhous said...

I don't think I've said this week how much of a badass I think Harry Reid is. He is a badass.

I went and checked for statements on Meiers from Frist, wacko Santorum, and my two VA senators, John Warner and George "Surf's Up" Allen. Frist's statement was unqualified praise, with stuff like "she's great, I just hope the democrats don't be mean to her." My boy Warner had a much shorter, even more positive statement: he said Bush had "hit a home run" with this nominee.

Santorum's release is much more reserved, basically saying he's pleased to know of the nomination and looks forward to learning about her. Allen? He has yet to post a comment. But that's normal; we here in VA are used to him being late to everything.

Otto Man said...

The Republicans are going to feel the heat on this one -- the president has nominated her, but the conservative base is really up in arms about it. (Ezra Klein has a nice roundup of their outrage if you're interested.)

I think the ones who are up for re-election in 2006 are going to be sweating bullets over this one. There's no good way to be loyal to both the prez and the base at the same time.

Otto Man said...

If you'd like another perspective, be sure to check out Miers' own blog:

Studiodave said...

I think this is a nice counter to their arguement against affirmative action. No, no, she got there because of here work record - not because of who she knows. Oh, wait.

Ra_wiggum said...

I heard that Mike Brown was on the short list, but they felt that it would take away from his current responsibilities as a consultant to FEMA.

Mrs_Thrillhous said...

What is this WM-for-a-WM, chick-for-a-chick garbage all about? Women should make up half the Court, maybe more (if they keep outnumbering male law school grads).

I would also appreciate someone who did not attend the triumvirate that is Yale, Harvard, and Stanford.

Studiodave said...

Be careful of what you ask for Mrs. T....

InanimateCarbonRod said...

With the apoplexy on the right, I can't help but wonder if this is some kind of rope-a-dope strategery.

Studiodave said...

Lotta rope... Lotta dope... (not good kind).

I think in the Ali version the strategy is that you eventually do something.