Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Miers confirmation: three scenarios

Many of us find ourselves wishing that the President had nominated someone other than Harriet Miers. But she’s the nominee we have. What next?

Suppose, in the first place, that the combination of conservative discontent and (gleeful) liberal opposition is sufficient to defeat this nominee. Does this weaken or strengthen the President’s hand with the next nomination? If it weakens his hand (as I think it will), those looking for a judge faithful to original intent are even worse off in the next round.

Suppose, secondly, that Miers is confirmed, but raked over the coals in the process. This, it seems to me, emboldens the Left in its opposition to Bush’s future Appeals Court and Supreme Court nominees, and places the President on the defensive as he makes his nominations. This also is not an encouraging prospect.

Finally, there is the possibility, however remote, that Miers will exceed expectations in the hearings. I have no doubt but that, in the proverbial fair fight, Miers could hold her own, one on one, with almost anyone on the Senate Judiciary Committee (not a terribly high bar, to be sure). But if conservatives sit on their hands, the fight won’t be fair. One can only hope that Miers is a quick study and that she has (and is open to) the same kinds of teachers and advisors that Clarence Thomas had as he prepared for his judicial career.

For what it’s worth, I think at the moment that the second scenario is most likely. Everything then would depend upon how the Left decides to oppose this nomination. They could put the Bush Administration on trial, question Miers’s competence and credentials, or make an issue of her conservative evangelicalism. The third is probably a winner for the Bush Administration, or at least a loser for the Left; the first is a storm they could probably weather; the second represents the toughest challenge. My guess is that we’ll see all three tacks.

President Bush seems to have put us in a difficult position. Redeeming it at this point seems to require conservative willingness to contribute to the constitutional education of Harriet Miers and then an effective defense of her nomination. Anyone want to sign onto this mission?

Discussions - 3 Comments

You wrote"Suppose, secondly, that Miers is confirmed, but raked over the coals in the process. This, it seems to me, emboldens the Left in its opposition to Bush’s future Appeals Court and Supreme Court nominees, and places the President on the defensive as he makes his nominations. This also is not an encouraging prospect."

The President is already on the defensive with these last 2 picks--no evident paper trail for either. Bush has lost his heart for a fight.

"President Bush seems to have put us in a difficult position."

Well said. Of course, Bush not being a conservative this should not surprise us.

"Anyone want to sign onto this mission?"

I believe conservatives have little to gain from this, and the arguments I have heard are all from the negative; "what other choice do we have"? We can choose to stay home in 2006 and 2008...

Now I have to tell you guys that this little item concerns me a great deal. I love Focus on the Family as much as the next person, but this just makes me wonder why Rove and Co. are having special communnicatoins with the "Christian elite" bigwigs, but their leaving us regular Joes out in the cold, intellegence-wise. I’m not going to try that fancy "linking" business, but the article can be read here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/04/politics/politicsspecial1/04conserv.html

and this is the part that troubles me:

"Karl Rove, the president’s top political adviser, started calling influential social conservatives to reassure them about the pick even before it was announced. He called James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, over the weekend….

Some of the efforts evidently bore fruit. By day’s end, Mr. Dobson, one of the most influential evangelical conservatives, welcomed the nomination. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," he said in an interview, explaining his decision to speak out in support of Ms. Miers. He declined to discuss his conversations with the White House.’

Now if that don’t just get your goat, I don’t know what would. I’m starting to wonder about the integrity of Mr. Rove. Mr. Bush I trust like a son, but Mr. Rove is a different matter.

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