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.
I agree that we have no cards to play. However, I think the grumbling is serving an important purpose. In the end, she must be confirmed. It's the pitiful truth.
Ping to vanity
Isn't it most likely that by picking an extremely well-known confidant like Miers, Bush is avoiding the mistake made by his father when he picked an unknown like Souter?
There's always the 'suicide bomber' card: conservatives sit out the next election and the results terrorize the GOP back into the fold. Maybe.
As I mentioned before, I think that the successor to Miers if her nomination goes down in flames would be most likely Mike McConnell, followed by Edith Clement. They would need someone with great intellectual stature, well-regarded by conservatives but without a RvW paper trail, or anything else comparably insurmountable, who is also well-respected and well-liked across the aisle. McConnell fits the description perfectly. So long as they're not set on a 'diversity' pick, McConnell is the one.
If they are set on an AA justice, then Edith Clement fits the bill. JRB and PO and EHJ have too long of a paper trail, and would cause a firestorm over RvW.
To avoid confusion, I am speaking of Mike McConnell the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge, not Senator Mitch McConnell.
Novak released a bit today about Hastert and the House pubbies reversing their stance on spending for Katrina without cutting spending elsewhere. That's good. Whether it was due to this furor I can't say but it made me think.
The sad fact is that genuine conservatives don't hold much political power. Otherwise we quite frankly wouldn't have pseudo conservatives in the Senate (we'd have 55 people like Cornyn, Sessions, Brownback, Coburn instead) and we'd have a more conservative President.
Miers is a tough, bitter pill to swallow but it if conservatives really want to accomplish something, go after the Senators who hold her fate in their hands. Convince them that her nomination must be rejected for their own political health, and make THEM tell the President to nominate someone who's a much better candidate.
If all the anti-Miers efforts were directed at the Senate right now, instead of what I believe is pretty useless bashing of a lame duck President, then a better nominee could be in our future. I doubt very much that the President would replace Miers with someone that would cause a similar uproar from folks on the right. He'd know that he'd have no choice but deliver up what may turn out to be a big fat sacrificial lamb such as a Luttig just to appease those currently outraged, even if Luttig couldn't get confirmed either.
I'm not sure Clement would unite conservatives either.
Conservatives tanking Miers on ideological grounds (or lack of paper trail ground) if she does well at the hearings from a competence standpoint, will make an O'Connell confirmation to be somewhere between very difficult to impossible. They would then have the cover to do it (the right wingers reject a competent choice because she lacks a paper trail, so we can reject a competent choice on the same grounds, with more of a paper trail.) The Dems and Rino's won't stand for it. If I thought otherwise, and thought Bush would indeed select McConnell (which would require getting over the woman bit), that would be a most excellent, indeed compelling, reason to knife Miers. I would join in the crowd around Brutus myself.
Republicans voted for Ginsburg for gosh sakes. How can we vote against Miers? We really have no cards to play at this point. I blame Bush and the entire Senate. But we are where we are. Let's get it over with and learn from it.
My personal view is that if she does well at the hearings, she will almost certainly be confirmed, in which case I agree with your analysis. But, if she in fact doesn't do well at the hearings, then what?
Well then I guess we get Clement (assuming Clement is smart) or maybe O'Connell is my guess. Other then Jones (too hot button probably), I don't know any other super smart women available with the right background. Do you?
There's a law school dean (Elena Kagan), a legal scholar (Mary Ann Glendon), and a high-power attorney (Maureen Mahoney) that may fit the bill, but I don't know enough about their past writings or statements to guess. They may very well shy away from another non-judge though, that's why I narrowed it down to Edith Clement. The rest have a paper trail that's either too glaringly right or too glaringly soft. The WH might've tried hard-right to begin with, but I don't think they'll want any kind of fight if the Miers nomination goes down, so they'll go stealth again, just higher-quality stealth.
I have a hard time just getting over it because it's such an integral part of why I supported Bush so much, and why I believed all of my efforts would pay off.
I think there are legitimate grounds to oppose Miers that aren't ideological. The necessity of her having to recuse herself in matters brought by or against the administration where she either had a direct involvement in the matter or had responsibility for it is a significant issue. She may have to recuse herself in other cases merely because of "an appearance" of impropriety. I've put it simply as what happens when Miers cannot protect us because of her prior work protecting us? It would ironic, to say the least, that Bush's nominee couldn't decide any cases involving recent WOT efforts. What good is she then, especially for all those Security Moms cited as making the difference for Bush in the last election?
There is also the cronyism angle. If I was a dem intent on either making the President look bad or just fishing for leads on more dirt, I'd want to ask Miers about all sorts of things that have happened in the administration since she's been involved in it. If she cannot answer those questions, there may be sufficient room for a pubbie Senator to take a principled stand against her, particularly when combined with the recusal issue and other non-ideological issues, and especially if that rejection is accompanied by a call to nominate someone who will provide the meat that conservatives want.
It can be pulled off. The sad reality is that there are a bunch of complainers all with their self-interests at heart around who just want to vent but don't want to actually commit to doing anything else that would be more productive.
Diane Sykes (7th Circuit) would be terrific. I'd be ecstatic about that scenario.
DOWN WITH MIERS - lolol
Yeah. I'm not saying you should get over it. Don't. Keep griping. I just think in the end, we have no choice but to confirm her. The alternative is worse.
On the other hand if she does not do well and seems not up to the task at hand folks like me, who are willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt based on his almost uniformly excellent appointments to the appellate courts, will join forces with the our brethren on the right and demand she is banished to Texas.
At that point I think Bush has no choice but to say "charge" and let the chips fall where they may.
Edith Jones is every bit as sharp as John Roberts. I was very disappointed when she wasn't named. And yes, her writings on the roadmap to overturn ROe have a lot to do with it.
Full disclosure as GreyWhiskers says.
Thanks for the link to your essay.
I do, however, believe that you and a whole lot of other folks around here (and in Washington DC for that matter) GREATLY underestimate the passion of those of us in the conservative mob and the wrath that can we can unleash when we are messed with.
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