Monday, October 03, 2005

My Take on Miers

In my last post I made it clear that I don't think that Miers was the best candidate for the job. She doesn't have the A list credentials that scream qualified that Roberts does - Harvard law, SCOTUS clerkships, judicial experience (even if limited in Roberts' case). This will give Democrats an opening to oppose or at least batter her in confirmation hearings in the absence of much of a record on the issues. In addition, it looks like a reward for a political crony, a charge that has been leveled against the Bush administration numerous times and particularly so of late (Michael Brown at FEMA).

But does this mean that she will be either a poor justice or not conservative? I can't speak to the former, but as for the latter question we should remember that she was intimately involved in the selection process acting as White House counsel. She knows what the president wants in a justice, both on principle and in terms of Republican politics. Someone this involved is likely to be on the same page as Bush. Without needing to ask, the president probably knows her opinions on a variety of issues. While it's certainly possible that she follows the party line to some extent (representing her client's views, as Roberts often stated) it's more likely that she is a conservative.

Her close involvement with the president makes it very clear that she is no Souter, in the sense of a nominee whose views are an enigma to the president. The elder Bush did not know David Souter - he was suggested by Chief of Staff Sununu and Senator Rudman. GWB knows Miers well and as such is much less likely to be surprised by her later than GHWB was with Souter.

Do we know that Miers will be a reliable conservative? No. But that unfortunately is part of the point of choosing her. The Democrats don't know either. Some, including Hugh Hewitt, think we should trust the president implicitly while many others on the right apparently do not. I do feel like his past record on judicial nominees should at least entitle Bush to some trust from his supporters, but not unconditionally. I'm disappointed in the choice but hopeful.

If nothing else I hope that those conservatives who feel betrayed and are claiming that they will not support Republicans in 2006 will at least wait before making any final decisions. If she is confirmed she will have plenty of opportunities to establish her judicial philosophy before the 2006 elections (e.g. the partial birth abortion cases), thus possibly vindicating Bush's faith in her.

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