Mired in Miers
|In the comments, Stephanie asked why it’s necessary for Harriet Miers, George Bush’s latest nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to have experience. It’s a fair question and I’d like to take a stab at it.|
First, it’s not that Miers doesn’t have any experience. Miers is currently the White House Counsel and was Bush’s personal lawyer. Prior to her service under Bush, she was in private practice for 27 years, mostly handling big business cases, particularly for Microsoft and Disney. However, she has never been a judge and has never argued a case before the Supreme Court. Being a lawyer and being a judge are two very different things, all the moreso when you may become one of the nine most important judges in the country.
Bush’s supposed rational is apparently that someone with this limited experience would bring a new perspective to the Court. That doesn’t make much sense. As conservative columnist George Will pointed out "there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks." There are probably dozens of potential nominees more qualified for this position than Miers.
This seems to be a case of nepotism. Bush, as he frequently does, is rewarding personal loyalty, not competence. Notes the always-insightful Zalm:
In other administration appointments, President Bush has demonstrated time and time again just how highly he values personal loyalty, sometimes to the exclusion of other qualifications or lack thereof. But loyalty to any president is irrelevant to the tasks of the Supreme Court. In fact, too much loyalty to a particular administration should be a mark against a nominee.Miers also has some rather intriguing and complicated ties to Bush’s National Guard scandal, which may partially explain why she's up for this nomination.
So I dunno. On the one hand, Miers appears like she will be quite a moderate if she makes it to the Court. She seems to favor gay rights. There’s also been talk from one of her close friends that she might uphold Roe v. Wade if the Supreme Court were to reexamine the case (which should be a lesson to the evangelical community; never trust a seasoned liar). She also donated $1,000 to Al Gore in the late 80s, $1,000 to Hillary Clinton in 2000 (kind of sort of), and held a series of pro-feminism lectures. All of which explains why conservatives are fuming about this. Bush’s evangelical base got played in the last election and they’re finally starting to realise it. And while that makes me happy in a smug sort of way, I don’t know that I can approve of blatant nepotism, especially if it’s to reward Miers for covering Bush's ass.