I have waited for a very long time before posting my opinion on the nomination of Harriet Miers as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. With the nomination very much in doubt – even before the hearings – I have held my tongue. But I am finally starting feel my spine stiffen and my hackles are starting to stand up. So maybe it’s time to speak out. After all, the gauntlet has been laid down. The good folk over at The Truth Laid Bear have put up a blogger opinion poll regarding Miers nomination. And the final straw that has motivated my opining on the subject came from George Will’s column this morning.
So what does the Roo think about Ms. Miers and her nomination to SCOTUS?
First things first. The President proposes, Congress disposes. Only President George W. Bush has the Constitutional authority to nominate. And the Constitution provides no limitations on such nominees. So Bush should nominate whomever he chooses. It is not my choice to make. And the last five years have taught me to trust President Bush’s judgement on most matters. So the President has discharged his responsibility. And the Senate will advise and possibly consent.
But I always have the ability and responsibility to voice my opinion. If I were the President, what would I do? Who would I nominate?
I would pick a person of unassailable intellect. This nominee will serve for a very long time. Let’s ponder the question of tenure for just a moment. Most conservatives have chaffed at the derailed appointment of Robert Bork. If Bork had won confirmation, he would still be serving on the bench. And his opinions might well have changed the course of history. So this nominee’s writings will form the heart of American jurisprudence for a very long time. It is incumbent upon the Prsident to select a nominee whose opinions will be able to withstand the vagaries of the liberal intelligensia – members of which may someday serve beside this nominee.
I would pick a person of strong foundation. Yes, that means that I would prefer someone with a steadfast faith. But it also means that I would pick someone whose core rests not on him or herself but on something external and eternal. People with an external foundation will not allow shifting tides and public opinion to sway and/or change their judicial temperment.
I would pick a person with a quiet and collaborative spirit. In the combative parts of my heart, I would want a firebrand. But that is not what we need. We need men and women who will willingly and affably work with people that they may disagree with. Why? Our nation is founded upon the notion that all opinions are valuable. So any Supreme Court justice must be able to collaborate and/or respectfully disagree with his or her brethren – in the same way that we must work with those who disagree with us.
I don’t know whether Harriet Miers meets my first requirement (unassailable intellect). Her public writings do not seem to support the proposition that she is a person of unassailable intellect. But I do know that she is smart. You can’t rise to the levels that she has risen to without some degree of grey matter. So I cannot endorse Harriet Miers until I hear from her – since her writings are not going to be released for review. So on my first requriement, I am skeptical, but willing to hear what is revealed in the hearings.
On my second requirement (steadfastness and personal humility), I have no guage with which to measure Harriet Miers. I will trust George Bush’s opinion on this matter. However, I feel very unsettled on this point. I have seen enough changes in her past that concern me. But this is one where the President has worked with her for years. She gets my support on this fact alone.
Finally, is Harriet a uniter and not a divider? What a loaded question. As presented, Harriet Miers nomination is a divider and not a uniter. But that is circumstantial spin. She seems to be quite affable and collaborative. The people that have worked with her are all amazingly complimentary of her ability to work with others to get things done. This includes her colleagues in her law firm as well as those in the Texas Lottery. So Ms. Miers gets a tentative nod from me on this point.
Bottom Line: If I were President, I could not pick her. If I were a Senator, I would have to wait and see if she has the tone and tenor of a Supreme Court justice. But as a citizen, I am deeply concerned that I know so very little about this nominee. I want to see the Court change. I voted to see the Court change. And I worked on a campaign to see the Court change. But no one can provide me the information necessary to assure me that this nominee will change the Court. BTW, the Democratic Senators are in the exact same position. They don’t want to see change – but they don’t have enough information to say that she would change the precedents that they hold so dear.
So how will I answer the call to all bloggers? George Will said it best. He notes that this nomineee will be “a nominee for a lifetime position making unappealable decisions of enormous social impact.” With this in mind, I could not vote for this nominee – at least, not yet. For TTLB, “I oppose the Miers nomination.”