Thursday, October 20, 2005


Conservative Ideology at a Crossroads

David Frum has some excellent thoughts on the pro-Miers "conservatives" in his running diary column on National Review Online. He opens with the following analysis:

"It seems that the pro-Miers forces really are bent on burning down the village in order to save it."

Frum makes several strong arguments regarding support for Miers, including charges of outright hypocrisy by many who have supported standing on ideology with previous appointees but now have switched to a results-driven approach for the Miers nomination. Also of note is the link at the bottom of the column to NRO's petition for the withdrawal of the Miers nomination, which I signed after some deliberation as to whether it was better for Miers to withdraw or to be defeated before the full Senate.

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog has the following on Miers and her unfamiliarity with the Supreme Court:

"Supreme Court nominee Harriet E. Miers told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she had been involved as a private attorney in three cases that were appealed to the Supreme Court -- none of which was granted review. Only one of the three appeared to involve any significant constitutional issue, and that one involved the political career of President Bush. Miers also made a broad claim to having handled constitutional questions as White House Counsel to President Bush. But, she gave no details, even though the Committee had asked her to "describe in detail the constitutional issue you dealt with, the context in which you dealt with it, and the substance of any positions you took related to that issue." She also failed to provide detailed support for a claim that, as a private lawyer, she handled "many cases involving issues of personal jurisdiction under the United States Constitution" and gave no details on her handling of "many First Amendment issues" while representing 'a media client for many years.'"

Senator Chuck Schumer showed particular angst at Miers' lack of responses to the bipartisan Senate Judiciary questionnaire today. After reading some of the vagaries that Miers dared use as answers, I - for one of the first times in my life - have to agree with Senator Schumer. (You have no idea how tough that was to write...)

Meanwhile, Trent Lott, Republican Senator from Mississippi, seems to have suddenly - and without explanation - changed his tune on Miers, going from stating that she was "unsatisfactory" to now saying that he will probably end up backing her. Gee, I wonder what could have changed his mind? In any case, I am pleased to see that Senator George Allen is proceeding with caution. He needs to do so if he is to continue his appeal to the Right as 2008 approaches. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, whose campaign was already derailed by his lack of leadership during this disastrous 2005, support for government funding for stem cell research, and the current investigation into his stock dealings, was one of the first Senators to throw his weight behind the enigma that is Harriet Miers. I urge Senator Allen to stay the course on this issue, because it could pay big dividends in the future.

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