Friday, October 07, 2005

A Conservative Penumbra?

Pundits and politicians who use the word “crony” to describe Harriet Miers and who use the word “cronyism” to describe the nomination of Ms. Miers to the Supreme Court by President Bush are revealing much more about themselves, their sloppy use of language, and possibly their sloppy thinking, than they are revealing about our President or his nominee.

Most of these slanderers who use slur words to describe the nominator and the nominee claim to be die-hard advocates of protecting the original intent of the U. S. Constitution. However, the U.S. CONSTITUTION is silent as to the qualifications of a Supreme Court Justice other than that he or she must be nominated by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Ms. Miers has fulfilled the first half of her qualifications the moment she was nominated. By definition, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and every other Justice remained unqualified right up until the point they were confirmed by the Senate. By definition, Ms. Miers will remain unqualified up until the point she is confirmed, but once she is confirmed, if she is confirmed, she will be just as qualified as any other Justice who has ever served on the Bench. Therefore, everyone who has not been confirmed, including Robert Bork, you, me, and Ms. Miers, is unqualified, and every confirmed Justice is qualified, by definition.

It is fair to accuse President Bush of nominating Ms. Miers primarily because of the close working relationship they have had for over ten years. However, it is not fair to claim that because of the close relationship between President Bush and Ms. Miers, she is therefore not suited to even be considered for nomination. Our President can either surround himself with the best and brightest and then move those people into other positions and roles as higher responsibilities in government need filling or alternatively he can leave the best and brightest outside of his inner circle waiting for better positions to become available. The former is much preferable to the latter in my view.

Condi Rice was considered by many conservatives to be too lightweight for the position of National Security Advisor. President Bush knew her well enough to know she could handle the job of NSA and once the position of Secretary of State became available, she was the perfect nominee to replace Colin Powell. Was Ms. Rice a crony or did the President do what we pay him to do?

Do these slanderers not believe in our constitution, do they think they know more about qualifications for the bench than the framers of our country, or are they like the penumbra crowd who read what they want into our constitution? Perhaps the divide between conservative and liberal is not so wide when it comes to applying the Constitution and I don’t mean that in a good way.


loren said...

interesting testimony, glad you're in touch with the Lord.

Lawrence Gage said...


According to the very broad qualifications the constitution lays out, absolutely anyone is qualified. I can't find even an age or citizenship requirement.

According to you all the liberal justices on the court are well qualified. You or I would be well qualified if we were nominated and confirmed. (I'm not so egotistical as to think I would actually be a qualified justice.)

If you want to construe qualifications that legalistically, the President's nomination of the nearest teenage heroin addict would be just dandy.

No one thinks the President can't nominate whomever he wants. (Notice that no one is invoking the law to stop the President from nominating Ms. Miers.) All we are saying is that it isn't a wise decision and he should reconsider.

In passing over so many experienced judges for the highest court in the land, Bush seems to be showing that he really despises his base. I only hope that he comes to his senses soon and that Ms. Miers withdraws her nomination "voluntarily, over the President's protests" very soon.


David M. Smith said...

Hi MJ,

I do think there are many fair and legitimate reasons for conservatives to oppose the nomination of Harriet Miers. However, the slanderous charge of cronyism is an unfounded personal attack on President Bush and Harriet Miers. Conservatives who use the word “crony” are using slur verbiage that is more typical of the other side.

It seems to me like President Bush was trying to appease the evangelical base. I like the nomination, while at the same time realizing it was not the smartest nomination. I think many of the conservative talking heads have been over the top in their criticism and I think President Bush should have nominated someone with more of a proven track record.

This nomination has made President Bush look weak and it has made many conservative commentators look petty.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I think if conservatives will show a little control, the Miers nomination and confirmation process will be good for our country.

Hammertime said...

"It seems to me like President Bush was trying to appease the evangelical base"

He could have done that with much less uproar from the team with Michael McConnell.

No, I think that he is doing exactly what he said he would - nominating someone who would vote like Scalia or Thomas. He never promised us a big fight, and I think he is keeping his promise the best way possible - by putting the right vote on the court with little chance of a defeat.

Nominating Luttig and failing to confirm him would not have helped him keep his word, you know?

David M. Smith said...

Hi Hammer,

Like you, I think President Bush is doing his best to keep his word. I don’t think anyone would have made everyone happy. This nomination has at least been very interesting.