Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Sexism, Elitism, Activism?

In response to conservative opposition to Harriet Miers’ nomination, the Miers’ defenders have mounted a series of unworthy and, quite frankly, ridiculous attacks. First, Ed Gillespie appeared before a conservative gathering in Washington and suggested that the criticisms of Miers smelled of sexism and elitism. Gillespies’ comment, however, smelled of desperation--given that the short list preferred by conservatives included the likes of Judges Maura Corrigan (University of Detroit Law School), Alice Batchelder (Akron University School of Law), Edith Jones (University of Texas), Priscilla Owen (Baylor Law School), and Janice Rogers Brown (UCLA Law School). The comments were roundly ridiculed, but that didn’t stop Brit Hume from suggesting that David Frum, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Laura Ingraham, and George Will are all school snobs who suffer from Ivy League blinders—notwithstanding their support for the aforementioned non-Ivy-League prospective nominees.

Having failed in this first attempt, Miers’ defenders appear to be starting a whisper campaign against prominent—and notably more qualified—judges who were oft-mentioned as being on the short list. On Fox News Sunday, when Bill Kristol suggested that Judges Edith Jones or Alice Batchelder would have been better picks, Hume interrupted:

Bill, I can tell you this about Alice Batchelder. She was very, very closely vetted. And you know what they found? They found all kinds of evidence of activism in her record. And they were quite surprised and not pleased to find that.

When Kristol questioned this new smear tactic, Brit incredulously suggested that this is something he found on his own. But, as Brit’s first statement makes clear, the only way he could have gotten this information about White House opinion is by hearing it from the White House (unless of course he is simply reporting second hand reports—which would mean that he was engaging in rather loose reporting practices).

What then is to be made of this attack on Judge Batchelder? Despite the allegation of "all kinds of evidence of activism," neither Hume nor any other Miers’ defender has produced a single case. By contrast, at least one NRO writer has listed several specific cases demonstrating the fact that Batchelder has a record of ruling according to the dictates of the law, even when the law is contrary to her own policy preferences. As a former clerk to Judge Batchelder, I can attest that she is the very picture of judicial restraint—someone who has a solid record of not prejudging cases. And you don’t need to take my word for it: you can simply look at her 20 years of well-reasoned opinions.

Now that Miers’ defenders are playing a game of confirmation "catch-up," they would do well to realize that they are not going to win over any conservatives by making spurious accusations about sexism, elitism, and activism--or by smearing the reputation of well-respected jurists.

Discussions - 26 Comments

Brit Hume’s attack was completely uncalled for. He isn’t a journalist, he is a hack who just repeats the White House’s talking points.

People who think that Miers is unqualified are being disingenuous. If Bush had appointed someone with the same qualifications and lack of paper trail, but who had gone on record, even just through public speaking or in memos to ABA committees, pleading for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, opposing gay rights and affirmative action or supporting a consitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, the neocon crazies would be jumping for joy at the nomination. They wouldn’t give one whit what law school she went to or whether she had been a judge. They’d be taking the position that we need non-academics and people with real-world experience like litigators on the Court. As to the cronyism charge, they’d be saying, Hey, Bush won the election, he gets to choose.

Good point, HDT. Yeah, precisely - what happened to the ol’ "Elections have consequences" line? The right-wing neocon theocrats were just assuming that the "consequences" would be that their every last wish and whim would be catered to. They like cronyism, but not THIS kind!

Neither HDT nor Ashland Voter seem to have been following the complaints. As indicated by this post, and RJ Pestritto’s article, the problem is not what law school she went to--there were plenty of good nominees who went to less prestigious law schools. And the problem is not that she is not solid on Roe. Indeed, the message about evangelicalism coming from the White House seems to be meant to assure conservatives that she will be pro-life. Rather, the problem is that her record does not demonstrate any reflection concerning constitutional issues. In response to HDT, had she written about all of those issues in law reviews or opinions, we could at least know that she had considered the constitutional questions, and could have some idea as to whether she applied the law or her will. But as things stand, it is not clear that she has even read the Constitution since she graduated law school. And as for Ashland Voter’s comment about deference, the bounds of that deference are limited by the founders’ concern for cronyism. There is nothing inconsistent in saying that the President should get his say on ideology--just as Clinton did with the extremist Ginsburg--but that he does not get a pass on cronyism.

My problem w/ the Miers nomination--and as I understand the situation that of many or even most of the other conservative objectors--is not so much w/ Miers herself, but comes rather from thinking of the candidates that Bush passed over to pick her.

I suspect that if confirmed, Miers will much more often that not rule in ways that conservatives will agree with and that will by the same token have leftists gnashing their teeth.

But Judge Mike McConnell is younger, and is a proven high-powered con-law brain, which Miers, while plainly an able lawyer, has shown no evidence of being.

Why Bush made this pick is not of all that much interest to me. The thing is done and now she sinks or swims. It’s the "opportunity cost" of who he didn’t pick that troubles me. If she tanks, it will be because of GOP/conservative opposition, which means that the pick who follows her could be a real superstar like McConnell (in other words, Bush will not have to "Souter-ize" and move to the center to please the left, but will have to rally and conciliate conservatives). So there may be a silver lining here yet.

It’s funny -- if someone had a past with so much "judicial activism," you would think they would have been targeted by the activist groups long ago. At the time Batchelder was mentioned as a top candidate for nomination, she was absent from most of the leftist hit group’s sites.

With regards to Batchelder, either the administration is lying now, or someone lied to the administration during the nomination process. Speaking of which, does it bother anyone else that the person in charge of "evaluating" the potential nominees was none other than Harriet Miers?

Hmm, I seem to recall that back in 2000 Dick Cheney headed the committee in charge of "evaluating" potential vice-presidential candidates.

True enough, John. But there is no sense that he wanted or was gunning for the job (there is increasing speculation that the same cannot be said for Miers), and there is no question that he was highly qualified (the same simply cannot be said for Miers). And, of course, any "cronyism" in pickiing a VP can be reviewed by the voters, and lasts at most for 4 years before it is reviewed by the voters again. Here, the term of office is good behavior, and so Federalist 76’s admonistion for the Senate to guard against unqualiftied cronies is all the more important.

I am very troubled by the fact that the person "evaluating" the candidates was Harriet Miers. The conflict of interest is clear. I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that Miers herself disapproved of numerous qualified candidates that stood in her way.

No Left Turns? Do you drive that way? Bump into many walls? Have you ever found yourself headed left after making three right turns? Who dug you old fossils up anyway? Wake up and die right, again.

You all miss the point here. The thread is about Brit Hume not Miers. It is about Humes’ role as a surrogate for the White House smear machine. It’s time for Fox to dump Hume. His pants are on fire!

Hume is a puppet. I am not watching his show anymore. What’s the point? All I get from him is the Rove/Gillespie talking points anyway.

"When Kristol questioned this new smear tactic, Brit incredulously suggested that this is something he found on his own. But, as Brit’s first statement makes clear [...]"

You seem to be suggesting that Brit Hume said something you don’t believe. But the use of the word "incredulously" means that Brit Hume didn’t believe Kristol. Which is it? "Incredulously" is not a cross between "incredibly" and "ridiculously," just for the record. You might want to stick to using words the definitions of which you actually know.

You might want to stick to the substance of the argument instead of lowering the tone with a junior high level demonstration of your vocabulary prowess.

Here’s what the Ashbrook Center had to say about Brit Hume in the August 2000 issue of On Principle:

"The world needs more Brit Humes in its newsrooms. The Ashbrook Center is prescient to be hearing from the original."

The article goes on to praise Hume for his "inclination to tell both sides of the story" and how "balanced" he is.

There’s a reason they keep you gullible Ohio rubes down on the farm. Figured it out yet?

And here’s the link. Read it and weep.

Link to August 2000 article

And that’s not the only example. What’s that saying about the company you keep? Seems like you were getting kept by the Company! Ha ha ha!

AC’s point is sound, wm. When people misuse words and conflate meanings, it can often be difficult to determine what exactly the "substance of the argument" is.

When you begin debating semantics and conflated meanings you indicate that you are avoiding not only the substance, but the subject of this thread which is Brit Hume’s total subjugation to the White House smear machine. If you want to defend Hume, please do so, but please stay on topic.

It’s funny that you assume I would be defending Hume merely because I’ve acknowledged that AC has asked a good question. Defending Hume would be the last thing I’d do, seeing that he’s what I would consider to be the antithesis of a professional news journalist. I’ve known for a long time -apparently longer than the Ashbrook folks have, considering what’s been brought up in comments 15 and 16- that Brit Hume is just a tool and a puppet. But now that he’s taking a slightly different right turn than many of the rest of you (Question: how can Hume be described as a "surrogate for the White House smear machine" when he’s defending Bush’s Supreme Court justice pick and, indirectly, Bush?), he’s a loony rogue. It really is fun watching the Right melt down like this!!

Okay, whoever stole my pseudonym for Comment 19, please stop. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of other made-up names you could use instead.

I do, however, agree that Brit Hume is a puppet.

"Okay, whoever stole my pseudonym for Comment 19, please stop". How ridiculous. As if there is only one voter in the state of Ohio. If you didn’t want others using "your" pseudonym, you should have chosen a more precise name. To avoid confusion, from now on you should sign yourself as "Ohio Voter #391,488," ok?

To avoid confusion, you should put down your "peace pipe" and take a bath, hippy.

For Tom Delay! I know it’s not the topic of this thread (or any on NLT lately), but let’s talk about it! Dain? Anything smart to say? "Possible life in prison???!!" Wow!!

Please. There is a far better chance that Ronnie Earle will lose his bar license after DeLay sues him for malicious prosecution.

Let me clarify: if "ANOTHER Ohio Voter" would put down his "peace pipe" and take a bath, that would help avoid confusion between myself and him because, while I do frequently smoke a "peace pipe" and I am also in dire need of a bath, I have pulled a Horowitz and become a reactionary tool.

Hey robbie. heres a little something i received from a fellow serviceman that absolutely enraged me. i know it doesnt have anything to do with this segment, but i feel its worth reading over, especially prior to working out.

>>Recently Marines in Iraq wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to
let them know how much they liked their coffees and to request that they
send some of it to the troops there.

>>Starbucks replied, telling the Marines thank you for their support of
>>their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war, nor
anyone in it , and that they would not send the troops their brand of coffee.
>>So as not to offend Starbucks, maybe we should not support them by
buying any of their products!
>>As a war vet writing to fellow patriots, I feel we should get this
out in the open. I know this war might not be very popular with some folks,
but that doesn’t mean we don’t support the boys on the ground fighting street-to-street and house-to-house for what they and I believe is

>>Thanks very much for your support. I know you’ll all be there again
when I deploy once more.
>>"Semper Fidelis."
>>Sgt Howard C. Wright
>>1st Force Recon Co
>>1st Plt PLT

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