Reaction to Miers Nomination

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It seems as if the foaming at the mouth elements in Bush's base have all come out as a result of the Harriet Miers nomination for Sandra Day O'Connor's spot on the Supreme Court. Bush has betrayed his base. He's nominated another Souter. He's broken his promise to nominate someone in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. We've waited ten years for this opportunity, and he's flubbed it. It goes on and on. What gets me the most about this moronic behavior is that we know next to nothing about her, and no one is presenting any evidence to back this nonsense up. It's as if not knowing what someone believes amounts to knowing that they believe the opposite of what you would have them believe. Why is the right now imitating Dianne Feinstein, who did exactly that with John Roberts? Not being assured of what a nominee will do is not equivalent to being assured that a nominee will do what you don't want.

And when did the right all of a sudden give up the originalist judicial philosophy and begin caring more about results than process? After all, wanting an explicit affirmation from a nominee about how she will vote on these cases is exactly what someone who cares about judicial process should not want. It would require her to recuse herself on the very issues you want assurance on, which defeats the purpose. So much for consevatives occupying the higher ground position on such matters. Let's hope the Senate has more of a moral backbone to their conservative judicial views, because the most vocal conservatives on the internet sure don't.

What's been the strangest about all this is the wild speculation and distribution of misinformation. There's the assumption that a single woman who has been single all her life (but dated men throughout her life) is a lesbian. There's her being on the board of an organization called Exodus Ministry, which ministers to ex-convicts helping them assimilate back into society, which her detractors have already wanted to confuse with Exodus Ministries, an organization seeking to help gay people deal in a biblical way with the homosexual tendencies that they as Christians believe to be contrary to God's creational purpose. People have connected her past as a Southern Democrat as evidence that she's not a real conservative, even though almost all of the strongest Southern Democrats eventually became Republicans when they realized that there was no hope for social conservatism in the Democratic party. Well, here are some factors worth considering if you are a conservative somehow immaturely disillusioned because of a nominee you know virtually nothing about.

The pastor of the very conservative evangelical church she belongs to (which holds itself to be fundamentalist) and says they believe in a biblical view of marriage, which no one calling himself a fundamentalist would say when speaking of a view, assures conservatives that they considers gay marriage not to be really marriage, and he's speaking as if she believes this too. She's also an originalist about the kind of law she has practiced and about the Bible (as any good conservative evangelical who could possibly be described as a fundamentalist of any sort better be).

See also Dick Cheney's remarks about here on the Rush Limbaugh show. He knows her well, as does the president, and he assures conservatives who wanted a Scalia or Thomas that she's going to be just fine. It's also pretty clear from these statements that she seems to be very pro-life. None of this means her legal views will lead to the results social conservatives want, of course. But she's likely not a social liberal, and the conservative view of the legal process is that it's very much not about outcome anyway. You can't legislate outcome from the courts. You have to decided within the case on what the merits of the case allow you to say, and that might distance itself from your preferred social policies. Conservatives have on this nomination done all the reprehensible things liberals were doing with John Roberts, and it's truly disappointing.

This has all the makings of a really good stealth nomination (as opposed to a bad one like Souter or Stevens), someone who might actually be confirmed without much fight but is truly conservative. For some reason the right wants to spoil it. I think it's because they wanted the filibuster and the resulting nuclear option, because they were sure there were at least 50 votes for Janice Rogers Brown or Michael Luttig. This is where Bush is smarter than his base. He knew that there aren't 50 votes for such a nominee, so he picked someone conservative who could get the 50 votes. It's sneaky, and it's turned out to be so sneaky that it's fooled even conservatives. This all seems so obvious to me, and yet nothing I've seen or heard so far in the blogs or in the media has even come close to suggesting it. The "what does Bush know that we don't?" argument from Schumer was a stretch with the Roberts nomination, but when it comes to Bush's own chief counsel who has known him for ten years I think we ought to suspect that he knows her views very well. This opposition from the right just seems downright irrational, in light of that.

Update: I guess I'm not completely alone in this. Mark Noonan, Jonathan R., Beldar, and Hugh Hewitt are saying similar things, and they've got links to a few others. I don't often agree with Hugh Hewitt on matters conservatives are divided on, but he makes a lot of great points on this. Also, I had originally wanted to link to this piece about Miers leading the way to get the American Bar Association to drop its pro-hoice stance (or at least to put it up for a vote rather than a fiat by elite leaders). That says something, at least. I don't think an O'Connor would do something like that.

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There is a brush fire starting on the Right. At the moment it is smoldering, smoking. President Bush and his advisors have clearly caught a whiff of it. It remains to be seen how they choose to fight this fire, but I'm quite convinced pouring gasolin... Read More

2 Comments

From what I've seen on the righty blogs, the primary concern is not that she's too liberal (though it is a minor concern); the primary concern is that she's simply underqualified and that she's getting the nomination through cronyism.

Yes, that was something I knew too little about to comment on. That's why it took until today for me to post on it. This post was less about the bloggers anyway. It was about the blog commenters. The bloggers haven't quite been foaming at the mouth, but they've been giving bad arguments.

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