Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Miers opinion roundup

Charles Krauthammer and Michelle Malkin are unhappy. Sam Brownback is noncommittal, unable as yet to muster any enthusiasm. Chuck Shumer is enjoying the spectacle:

"John Roberts only had to worry about, you know, the left," he said, referring to the recently confirmed chief justice. "She’s going to have to worry about the left and the right."

E. J. Dionne, Jr. is in high dudgeon, upset that the Bush Administration has made an issue of Miers’s evangelicalism but refused to let the Left make an issue of Roberts’s Catholicism. Hypocrisy, he says. That would be the pot calling the kettle black, as, by his lights, the Administration is taking his advice. Of course, Dionne is interested in religion because he assumes that it will influence a judge’s rulings. I have disagreed with this position before, as have people
much smarter than I am.

That said, the Bush Administration is taking a risk in calling attention to Miers’s church life, however much it indicates about her heart (which is what the Democrats said they wanted to know about Roberts). With nuances getting lost in the noise, it may serve to reinforce expectations on the Left and educate expectations among evangelicals that one’s faith does and should influence one’s Constitutional doctrine. Smart evangelicals have carefully avoided this implication thus far; I’d hate for the Bush Administration to undo the good work they’ve done as they rally the troops for this confirmation battle.

Update: Power Liner Paul Mirengoff has more thoughts on Dionne’s column. I would beg to differ with him about the meaning of the "religious test" clause of the Constitution, which forbids only formal religious tests, not religiously-bigoted voting by Senators. Such bigotry may well be reprehensible, and provide grounds for political criticism, but it’s not thereby unconstitutional. Yes, the spirit of the Constitution discourages "private" bigotry, but it prohibits only the overt or public emblem of it, e.g., a formal legal requirement that one profess or repudiate a faith in order to be eligible for office. Mr. Mirengoff’s position would lead to the kind of mind-reading attempted by the Court in its application of the infamous Lemon test.

Discussions - 3 Comments

I’d hate for the Bush Administration to undo the good work they’ve done ."
Wake up Joseph. What good work have they’ve done? They’ve increased government spending, started a never-ending war in Iraq, curtailed civil liberties with the Patriot Act and increased censorship of the press.

Bush might as well try and rally the troops because this may be the last time he even has troops to rally.

Well Student I would for one would love to know just what your a student of exactly. You see I ask this because it seems like you haven’t learned all your lessons. certainly not in recent politics history, where your coming up short on a few facts.

You see President Bush didn’t start any war: the terrorists did. On 9/11 and even before that with other terror attacks, the Muslim people started a War with US. President Bush did what any good president would do and fought back. IF you want to call defending yourself starting a war than go ahead... but just remember that it is the people fighting this War that gives you the freedom to go on the internet and make comments such as the ones you have made. Good day.

As I wrote the last sentence, I knew it was ambiguous, with the two "theys" having different antecedents. The second "they" refers to the Bush Adminstration; the first to "smart evangelicals," who have thus far carefully avoided assuming that their moral and political preferences are reasonable justification for legislating from the bench, as opposed to legislating from the legislature. In other words, what I meant was that the Bush Administration risks miseducating the evangelical rank-and-file in a way in which the smart evangelical leadership thus far hasn’t.

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