Skip to comments.Conservatives Have No Cards to Play in Opposing Miers
Posted on 10/10/2005 11:30:08 AM PDT by Torie
There is no question about Miers good character and temperament to be a judge. There is a question as to whether Miers is sufficiently smart and knowledgeable about Constitutional issues to be qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. That is why I am undecided.
The above concern is not however really a conservative versus liberal issue. Assuming Miers does well at the hearings as to matters of her basic competence, on what basis would conservative pressure groups of senators oppose Miers? That she does not have a paper trail? That they are not sufficiently confident that she will vote their way on cases involving issues that they care about? That she will leak the intellectual heft to perform an exorcism on Justice Kennedy, and get the trajectory of his mind out of its current cosmic orbit and into something a bit more down to earth?
The conservatives have absolutely no leverage on this one, and nowhere to go, and if they tank Miers because she is not sufficiently reliable, they will likely end up in an even worse position than before. There are three possibilities: 1) Miers gets confirmed while losing some conservative Senator votes while picking up Dem votes; 2) Enough conservative senators vote against Miers to tank her, and she does not get a sufficient number of Democrat Senator votes to get confirmed, and either (a) Bush nominates a more reliable individual, or (b) Bush in a pique picks someone even more obnoxious to conservatives who then gets confirmed with Dem votes.
If possibility 1) comes to pass, that will generate a nice little tail wind for Miers to sail off to the left, feeling betrayed and angry by the folks who turned the knife, ala Justice Thomas in reverse. If possibility 2(a) comes to pass, the Democrats and RINOS will be even emboldened to just say no to, from their standpoint, the parade of troglodytic horribles, and Bush may end up working his way down his list, until at last he offers up Gonzales or Christy Whitman or Olympia Snowe or Kay Baily Hutchison or somebody. If possibility 2(b) comes to pass, the conservatives may well get someone that will cause them to really gnash their teeth.
With a losing hand to play, conservatives are just breaking wind a windstorm. They dont matter much on this one, and are not really in the game. Sometimes, the only dignified thing left to do is suck it up, and act like something other than sore losers.
An insightful vanity.
I agree that there's not much to be done. I think she'll be confirmed, except on the pipe dream's chance she withdraws. Once Bush made the less-than-ideal (shall we say) nomination, he consigned GOP senators to vote for her. But I think that's exactly why we should make a stink about it, pound on W's thick skull a bit and maybe he'll get the message. No, it's not subtle or graceful, but I've never been big on either.
I think this was a lousy pick, but once it was made she should be confirmed unless she performs horribly during the confirmation hearings (and I highly doubt that will occur).
1) You assume that both Bush and Miers care about settling petty scores about as much as they care about the judiciary. Maybe that is true, but very possibly it isn't. If it is true, wow.
2) This is a poker game. 2 of the players are conservatives and Bush. Neither can count on the other acting rationally. Both should think about that. Your point is that conservatives need to think about how Bush reacts. True. But it is at least equally true that Bush needs to, and certainly would, think about how conservatives react. How do conservatives respond if to settle a silly issue Bush nominates someone worse than Miers from the conservative perspective? How should they? Would Bush really put silliness ahead of both the judiciary and parts of his other agenda as well? Now that would be irrational. And since that is the kind of calculation that Bush will be making, conservatives can know that this is the kind of calculation he would have to make, and act accordingly.
3) If Miers is defeated, I suspect it will be because of liberals worried about both her qualifications and Roe, institutionalists worried she isn't SC material, and conservatives. She probably cannot be defeated without assists from all 3.
4) The universe of people who could be considered for the SC seems to be pretty large. He can thread the needle with one of them. To take one: Clement would probably follow most of his views on the court, be very likely to be confirmed, please his base, and help him politically more than do harm.
You think if Bush feels that Miers has been tanked by conservatives unfairly, that he will then appease them? I don't.
To back up for a second. I have read everything I can on Miers. And it all amounts to about the same as if I had read nothing. I don't know what she'll be like on the SC. I do know - and I am pretty sure you will agree - she was a stupid pick politically. And from an outsider's perspecitve, an uncertain (and thus stupid) pick on the merits.
What conservatives should want, and what Bush should want, is for the coaltition that elected him in 2004 to stay together. For me personally, that is paramout. Bigger even than the SC. But Bush by picking Miers really put a lot of stress on that coalition. And he put even more stress by other things also, but this was an especially bad unforced error. Probably the worst stress the GOP coalition has come under since GHWB and the tax increase of 1990. And now we'll see how conservatives react. And then, if it comes to that, we'll see how Bush reacts. And if it comes to that, we'll see how conservatives react. Oh, joy.
"If they are set on an AA justice, then Edith Clement fits the bill."
Although I've heard the name mentioned, I don't know enough about Diane Sykes to guess how her confirmation might go.
You're half right. Diane Sykes would have been a very good choice. And if another vacancy occurs, she could conceivably be chosen.
But you're wrong about Miers. There is no evidence that she will be another David Souter.
While Bush's record on domestic spending, trade, and border security leave much to be desired, his record on judicial appointments has been stellar. Why would he break from that excellent record on his most important judicial appointment of all? There is no reason to believe that he would.
Harriet Miers was not my first choice. Indeed, she wasn't even on my top ten list. But there is no evidence that Miers will be a pro-Roe vs Wade Souter clone. The fact that Bush chose a stealth nominee shows that there are too many Democrats in the U.S. Senate. With Democrats using the filibuster as blithely as they do, Bush had few good options and did the best he could with the cards he had.
I believe that conservatives will be satisfied with Miers record on the Supreme Court and her critics will be stuffing their faces with crow.
I never said she'd be another Souter. That down with Miers bit was tongue in cheek. I'd like the best nominee we can get.
Miers could be a perfect justice and the nomination would still be a missed opportunity because it says that conservatives can only get on the Court if they hide their conservative ideology their whole life prior to that point.
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