Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Miers - a disappointing pick

I had a dream last week. I don't remember what the setting was, exactly, but the part of it that I remember is this - I got the news that President Bush had nominated Janice Rogers Brown to the Supreme Court, and I was high-fiving someone, I don't know who...


As near as I can tell, that was the first time in my life that I ever had a dream that involved the Supreme Court. I don't know why it came, but I do know that my reaction would have matched my reaction in real life. I desperately wanted President Bush to nominate Janice Rogers Brown. And there were a couple of reasons, despite the fact that I wouldn't recognize her if I tripped over her.

In the first place, from everything that I know, she's the kind of judge that I want on the Supreme Court, cognizant of the constitutional role of judges vs. the constitutional role of elected politicians.

But the big reason is that I wanted to watch the confirmation process. I wanted to watch the Democrats try to filibuster the first black woman ever nominated to the court, try to malign as "out of the judicial mainstream" a candidate who was able to win election to the California Supreme Court with 76% of the vote. I thought that the filibuster of the judges, including Judge Brown, over the past several years was disgraceful, but basically invisible - trying it on her on a nomination to the Supreme Court would have been the former but definitely not the latter. There would have been a fight, a fight that needs to be fought, and I wanted to see it.

That's what disappoints me about the Miers nomination. There are people who know better than I about all of the candidates and wanted a Luttig or McConnell, but I'm not a lawyer, I don't know those people, and have no opinion on Harriet Miers' qualifications. The fact that she's not currently a sitting judge doesn't concern me in the least. Nor does the absence of what would appear to be Roberts-level qualifications. What's important for a Supreme Court justice is an understanding of the Constitution, an understanding of the law, and an understanding of the role of judges. Whether she has those qualifications - I'm in no position to know. George W. Bush is. The evidence suggests that his judicial selections have, on the whole, been good selections. Shall we assume that he's not concerned about making good judicial selections anymore, or that he has reason to believe that this is a good selection? I assume the latter. (Which does not, of course, mean that he's right.) There are people excoriating this selection, assuming that it's a bad pick, and I don't think anyone has enough information to say that, particularly with the certainty with which it's being said.

But for the reasons I noted, it certainly is a disappointment...


Update:
Beldar has a take on the Miers nomination that is different from most. I agree, as I usually do, with almost all of it.

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