Miers' Quick Mind and Her Closed-Minded Critics

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Former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully defends Harriet Miers. One paragraph strikes me:

It is true that Harriet Miers, in everything she does, gives high attention to detail. And the trait came in handy with drafts of presidential speeches, in which she routinely exposed weak arguments, bogus statistics and claims inconsistent with previous remarks long forgotten by the rest of us. If one speech declared X "our most urgent domestic priority," and another speech seven months earlier had said it was Y, it would be Harriet Miers alone who noted the contradiction.

That sounds to me as if it's describing exactly the skill that I would say is most important for being a Supreme Court justice, though I wouldn't say the only important one. John Roberts impressed me in his confirmation hearings more because he displayed this sort of skill than for any other reason. My prediction is that those who aren't already closed to immediate observation (which is about half of conservatives at this point) will observe in her hearings that she really does have the sorts of skills that a Supreme Court justice should have. Those closed to observing anything will, of course, not budge from their position even if she outclasses John Roberts' performance. Most of The National Review's editors have declared themselves to be in this category, but I suspect almost everyone in this condition has been that way since her name was first announced, even if they knew nothing about her. Still, I suspect what we will see is that she's light years beyond where they've been putting her, and if she's confirmed I suspect we will also see that she is indeed a judicial conservative. I'm not basing this on my gut or on the president's say-so. I'm basing it on lots of things I've read from people who know her well, including the extremely conservative Chief Justice of Texas' Supreme Court.

Maybe those will turn out not to be a good guide, but they've got to be a lot better than those who keep trying to turn everything said about her into a negative, as if they've got some private animus against her as a person. Most of the writing I've seen from conservatives opposing her has come across that way, and the arguments given for their conclusions seem to me just not to follow from what they present as evidence. It seems rather impatient to be unwilling to wait for hearings before criticizing Bush's choice of her. It seems rash to assume she's not the conservative she very much seems to be (and all supposed evidence to the contrary simply does not mean what people are saying it means, as those defending her have repeatedly pointed out). It's as if those who are saying these things are simply not paying attention. But it's downright obnoxious to call for her to withdraw from consideration or to call the president to withdraw her nomination, when she hasn't even had a chance to respond publicly to the factual errors being passed around about her, never mind the uncivil, even rude, remarks I'm seeing regularly around the blogosophere that don't seem to me to be based in anything we even know. Wait for the hearing. Anything else is unfair. She should have the chance to answer the senators' questions. If, after that, people are still unconvinced, then say what you want. Just consider what comes out of the hearings and don't base it on things you don't know, as just about every critic of her I've read has been doing.

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