October 17, 2005

Comments on Miers

Heston posted an excellent piece on Abortion here.

While I completely agree with most of the post, he tags a brief section on Harriet Miers on the end, an issue which I have previously avoided commenting on, primarily because I am undecided. On one side, I am, like Heston, disappointed by the lack of clarity on Miers regarding her position due to her lack of a paper trail. I also am concerned about her lack of experience as a judge (nil).

On the other side, I recognize that President Bush knows a lot more about her than would be in her paper trail due to his extensive experience with her. Furthermore, I have gathered that she was either in charge of or one of the major people in charge of helping President Bush select judges, which would seem to indicate that she has a lot of experience with the right kind of judicial philosophy, as reflected in other nominees. Therefore, I think it is likely that she knows what the "right kind" of judge from our perspective is and most likely holds similar views. I have also heard positive things concerning her position on abortion and gun ownership, but again, almost everything we "know" about her is second hand, anecdotal, or circumstancial. And as for the lack of judging experience, it seems to me that judges are just the other side of lawyers. Lawyers act as advocates for positions, just as debaters do, and properly advocating that position to the important audience (judges) requires a proper understanding of judicial philosophy.

In conclusion, my position is this:

1 - I am disappointed in the lack of certainty concerning Miers. I would have preferred a candidate with a more concrete position.

2 - While I am inclined to dismiss her lack of judicial experience, this is the highest court in the land, which makes me leery of putting people with no real judicial experience on it.

3 - As others have argued, the choice of Miers seems to reflect a deeper conviction in that either open presentation of a strict interpretation judicial philosophy as opposed to an activist judicial philosophy can not win or be approved or would be more work/damaging than it is worth. Such an approach may have been neccessary under the Democratic dominated Congress of Ronald Reagan, but Bush doesn't have that problem.

4 - The supreme court position is a very serious lifetime position to the highest court in the land. This means that no longer can she not be removed later (the decision is permanent), the decisions she will be making at the Supreme Court can not be over-ruled by a higher court. This also concerns me a lot.

5 - Thus, while I am very concerned and apprehensive concerning the choice of Miers, I am not convinced that President Bush made a horrible mistake in appointing her, although I am inclined to agree that he made a mistake. This is primarily because most of my concerns are regarding our ignorance of her, an ignorance which President Bush most likely does NOT have. Thus, in evaluating her, he is not concerned about a lack of information on her, he has 1st hand information. We do not. What concerns me more is the ability of the Senate to adequately exercise its obligation of advice and particularly consent concerning someone about whom so little is known.

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