Thursday, October 06, 2005

Shut Up And Get On The Bus

I've been thinking about the hysterical reaction to so many conservatives about the nomination of Harriet Miers that I thought to myself, "good gawd this woman can't possibly be that bad!"

Then I read my friend NED at New England Republican fretting about the "instant shattering" of the Republican base and "the Souter Effect," and concluding that "I'm sorry, but I don't trust the President."

Well this has my shorts all in a bunch, so I trundled off to do some reading, looking for things said about Ms. Miers from people who actually know her, personally and professionally. And I've come to the conclusion that, if this crap doesn't stop soon, the right wing of the party is in danger of doing to Harriet Miers what the left did to Robert Bork.

First, I turned to BeldarBlog, where William Myers, a Texas attorney provides useful insights from lawyers and judges who have worked with and against Ms. Miers during her days as a trial lawyer and law firm president. His opening line says it all:

"If you want to know who's an effective courtroom lawyer and who's just a preening, posturing candy-assed (excuse my bluntness) litigator, one very good way to find out is to ask an experienced trial judge.

He gives this report regarding the unsolicited emails he has received concerning her fitness and qualifications:

"I've gotten unsolicited emails from a former professor of hers; a fellow editor on the Southwestern Law Journal; a former colleague in a high leadership position of the State Bar of Texas; several lawyers who've had cases with and against her; and three different lawyers (including a judge) who've practiced with her and/or who describe her as a role model, pioneer, and a personal inspiration. Percentage thanking me for publishing factual and detailed information about Ms. Miers' record: 100 percent. Percentage expressing any doubts about her fitness for the Court based on personal knowledge and dealings with her: Zero."

Beldar cites to Legal Underground, where Evan Schaeffer excerpts from a profile of Ms. Miers in Texas Lawyer in 1996, following her election as president of her law firm, Locke Purnell Rain Harrell. Interesting reading, this piece about someone who, according to the armchair experts, isn't qualified. Here's what one judge said about her:

"I've had her in court. [She's] very good, very cool, very deliberate, very poised, never gets rattled, very centered and has a very matter-of-fact way of communicating to a jury that's very effective," says 192nd District Judge Merrill L. Hartman.

I suppose I could string cite to many other sources who know Ms. Miers best, but I'll just tag along with Hugh Hewitt, who understands well why conservatives are angry with this pick, and tells them to relax:

"Now the complaints have all been aired, and everyone has put their marker down. Continuing the assault on Miers means committing to her defeat, an event that would be one of the more remarkable exercises in political self-destruction in memory. Though the GOP is poised to pick up seats in the Senate in 2006 --in Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Washington State, to name just six possibilities-- the decision to turn on the president is decision the injure those chances.

"Activists" will say this reasoning "blames the victim." Nonsense. They have no reason to doubt the president's judgment of this nominee, only that they'd have preferred another. (The "Souter" argument is the silliest being thrown about as the president has worked closely with Miers for a decade) Easy passage through the Senate is not an indication of ideological flaw, only of Democratic blinders. And there is no reason to believe that his next appointment won't bring exactly the nominee they want, though I strongly suspect that will depend on who retires next, and fully expect if the vacamcy occurs next summer the Attorney General would be the nominee to replace on the Court's left-leaning members, but a Luttig or McConnell to replace on the justices on the right though I hope none retire. Post 2006, all bets are off.

Part of my disappointment with the conservatives piling on the White House is the refusal to look at the entire political situation as it exists right now, 10 months into a 48 month term, 13 months before a crucial election, a week before the Iraq election and four years into a war that will go on for decades.

Bush and his team made a judgment on what was best for the cause of reforming the judiciary now, and he's been stalwart in that cause throughout. Judging his judges on the Miers nomination is lousy analysis, especially as the case isn't ripe. Talk to me in 2009 about the Bush judicial legacy. As of today, it looks extraordinarily good, but some conservatives seem intent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. "

I think this is proper cause to re-up my affiliation with the Coalition of the Chillin and Patrick Ruffini's new CofC SCOTUS Division! I'm going to sign up now. I already feel better, thanks.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?