Skip to comments.Bork v. Bork (Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing)
Posted on 10/19/2005 10:46:45 AM PDT by quidnunc
Ten days ago I wrote about the Miers nomination in light of Judge Bork's introduction to a new book of essays on SCOTUS.
In this morning's Wall Street Journal, Judge Bork weighs in with a denunciation of the Miers nomination, which includes the fairly astonishing sentence:
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aside, George W. Bush has not governed as a conservative (amnesty for illegal immigrants, reckless spending that will ultimately undo his tax cuts, signing a campaign finance bill even while maintaining its unconstitutionality).
This is the same as arguing that "Except for opposing Hitler and later warning of the descent of the Iron Curtain, Churchill did not govern as a conservative."
It is also striking that Judge Bork includes an assertion about a Bush policy "amnesty for illegal immigrants" which is simply not true, as well as an exaggeration about spending that confuses Bush's deficits with those of the President that nominated the judge. Which didn't undo that president's tax cuts either.
I prefer the anti-Olympian Judge Bork, the one who would not be dismissive of careers as distinguished though non-judicial as Harriet Miers' or as contemptuous of her faith as the Wall Street Journal essay clearly is. I am also surprised to see Professor Gralia, Professor Sowell, Dean Starr and others lumped in among the "[s]ome moderate (i.e., lukewarm) conservatives [who] admonish the rest of us to hold our fire until Ms. Miers's performance at her hearing tells us more about her outlook on law ."
In short, this morning's is an intemperate essay, quite extraordinary and unpersuasive. But like most of the arrows being fired at Miers now, it was not intended to persuade anyone at all but rather to inflame the anti-Miers crowd into a great frenzy of head-nodding murmuring. It may do that, although today's issuance of Diane Fienstein's ominous warning about Miers may have a far greater effect on the BWAE than Judge Bork's thunder. Look who's nodding and murmuring right along with you, friends.
I really don't know what to make of the anti-Miers collective, except that they are anti-Miers, and have a list of a few people they'd have preferred to see nominated.
Judge Bork and the anti-Miers crowd are increasingly defined by their Potter Stewart-like standard for SCOTUS nominees: They'll know a good one when they see it.
First of all, my sincere apologies to all my readers. Its been a tough couple of months, but Im back. (Dont ask. Trust me, you dont want to know. But I am getting back on track.)
Ive been watching the conservative media falling over itself to attack Dubyas latest nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), Harriet Miers. Believe me, it has been a long list of conservative commentators who have not taken well to the Presidents choice. A veritable cavalcade of Conservative commentators have spent stacks of column inches performing an autopsy on Miers. Or, more accurately, a vivisection. Even my belovèd Ann Coulter (Hubba! Hubba!) has taken to practically excoriating the president and diminishing Miers accomplishments.
It almost reminds me of my grade school years. You know, when two kids would start an argument in the playground, and all the kids would circle them and start chanting, Fight! Fight! Fight! Most of the time, wed get the entertainment we wished as two kids (usually boys, but it was even more vicious and dangerous when it was girls) proceeded to pound seven kinds of excrement out of each other. At least until the fattest teacher in the school could waddle over and separate the combatants with her cellulite, that is. However, on rare occasions, the two kids would decide that whatever they were arguing about wasnt worth coming to blows. The disappointment in the circle was palpable, and theyd usually try to cajole the potential warriors into giving the crowd what it wanted.
Look, I understand why many rep/cons are peeved at this choice. One having little to do with Ms. Miers, although shes the one catching all the stuff that has been thrown onto the media fan.
Rep/cons wanted a fight. Not just a little fight either. They wanted a BIG fight. They wanted World War XLVII. They wanted to get the Judicial Committee (well, half of it, anyway) to try and pull that filibuster crap theyve been spewing for as long as Dubyas been sending up judicial candidates of ANY stripe. They wanted the Senate Republicans to actually undergo spontaneous spinal generation (some would say re-generation, but Ive seen no evidence that any of our elected Senators or Representatives ever HAD a spine) and kick the lib/dem/soc/commies straight in the goolies. They wanted that 60-vote supermajority malarkey crushed into the ground. They wanted to see Teddy the Hutt dragged away from the free bar and buffet.
I wanted that too. So, I can understand the disappointment.
It is said that politics is like hardball. Well, not exactly. Rep/cons play hardball. Lib/dem/soc/commies play Global Thermonuclear War. I think what folks really are honked off about is that Dubya didnt pull out the metaphorical nukes and lay waste to his (and our, and Americas) enemies.
Heres the rub Dubya cant PROVE his nominees are a Scalia or Thomas until they actually get on the court and start handing down decisions. Most presidents cant. Okay, Clinton had a slam-dunk when he nominated Ruth Buzzie-Ginzberg to the Politburo, er, um, the Supreme Court. But even rep/cons recognized a singular truth. When youre elected president, you get your choice of Judges. You can comment on a judges education, experience, knowledge, and judicial demeanor, but if you disagree with their political views thats just hard cheese. Rep/cons respect that when it comes to a lib/dem/soc/commie selection. Its just a pity that rep/cons cant extend that same courtesy to their own President.
So theres a level of understandable doubt on the part of most rep/cons.
But it is absolutely meaningless.
Your doubt, my doubt, the pundits doubts none of those doubts matter one whit. Nor should they. WE dont name justices. Nor do our Congressmen or Senators. Thats a Presidents duty. Now, has the President performed his duty, under the Constitution? Yes. He has nominated somebody for the job. Your opinion or mine werent mentioned in the Constitution, so all of this yammering on the part of pundits and columnists (myself included) is merely to hear ourselves talk. Hence the title for this article, ripped from Act V Scene V of The Scottish Play. All of this discussion is moot. We dont make the choice. The President does. The President did.
(Doc Farmer in ChronWatch, October 19, 2005)
To Read This Article Click Here
Also, Bork's article was headed "Slouching toward Miers". I found that highly offensive.
Bork is a pompous, bitter has-been. Had he had the wisdom to answer the Senate's questions in the same fashion as Roberts or even Ginsberg he'd have been on the court for the last 20 years. But no, he had to arrogantly try to prove he was the smartest guy in the room and sunk his own nomination.
"But like most of the arrows being fired at Miers now, it was not intended to persuade anyone at all but rather to inflame the anti-Miers crowd into a great frenzy of head-nodding murmuring."
OK, so Bork is smarter than the reporter... no surprise there.
Bork is trying to persuade.. he want judges that are clearly conservative. It's not that complicated. Were I in the senate (not bloody likely, I know) I'd consent to Miers, if not exactly approve and even I get Bork's point.
So now the process goes on, and a number of people are urging their Senators to REJECT the nominee, if inadequate information is provided to make a more reliable subjective judgement of where on the specturm of tradtionalist - modernist her juducial inclinations fall.. Absent that data, the only prudent decsion is REJECTION.
And so, the Senators, hearing from their constituents, may (or may not) seek the information that will inform them, and will inform the voters who aim to hold the Senators to account for what is their decision.
President Bush has made his pick, and he doesn't want to hear objections. To President Bush I say, "plug your ears, the Senate is on it."
I'll shut up, now. :)
"Also, Bork's article was headed "Slouching toward Miers". I found that highly offensive."
I'm not arguing with you or criticizing but I am curious as to why you found that offensive... The President apparently concluded that he could not get a known constitutional expert confirmed and thus settled for someone who could be confirmed.
Why is "slouching toward Miers" an unfair or offensive title?
And again, I don't mean you can't you be offended, I just don't understand.
I find it amazing that Hewitt was able to remove his tongue from the boots of the administration long enough to write this.
"Slouching Toward Mediocrity" would've made a better title for Bork's op-ed. Vonnegut's Handicapper General has come to life and her name is Harriet Miers.
still doesn't change the fact that Meirs is certainly NOT the MOST qualified candidate. If she was pick number three, ok, fine. But she is not the best person the President can find.
"Bork is a pompous, bitter has-been. Had he had the wisdom to answer the Senate's questions in the same fashion as Roberts or even Ginsberg he'd have been on the court for the last 20 years. But no, he had to arrogantly try to prove he was the smartest guy in the room and sunk his own nomination."
Yeah, Bork is pompous.
Yes, Roberts was brilliant.
But in fairness, Roberts had the Bork hearings, the Clarence Thomas hearings and recent filibusters to learn from.
Once again demonstrating that Hewitt is an idiot, Churchill's personal hatred of Hitler blinded him into essentially ceding Eastern Europe to Stalin. He may have "warned", but when he could have opposed, he chose to go along with his commie buds. Churchill was principally a legend in his own mind, much like Hewitt.
I am a regular listener to Hugh Hewitt's show, but in regard to the Miers nomination he has lost all respect for his principles. As a result, I have lost a great deal of respect for Hugh Hewitt. It will take a while to earn that back.
So he got his revenge with things like this: I really don't know what to make of the anti-Miers collective, except that they are anti-Miers, and have a list of a few people they'd have preferred to see nominated. Judge Bork and the anti-Miers crowd are increasingly defined by their Potter Stewart-like standard for SCOTUS nominees: They'll know a good one when they see it.
He also misrepresented the Bork column by acting like certain comments related to things they did not. But whatever. Hewitt is the one who works the anti's into a frenzy. I can tell you he didn't persuade me one little bit.
And I do not think it is really fair to penalize Bork for having the honesty to actually answer the questions he was asked as opposed to the lame (albeit necessary) evasions we have seen from every canidate since.
Seems pretty obvious to me, but in case you didn't know, Robert Bork titled his book "Slouching toward Gomorrah."
And besides the insult implied in "slouching" toward anything, if you substitute the word "Miers" for "Gomorrah" you're likely implying a sort of equivalency.
To be fair to Judge Bork, the title is such a lame attempt to be clever, I doubt it was Bork's own headline for his editorial.
But OTOH, I was dismayed at Bork's tirade. He's destroyed the image I had of him as a decent, kindly, and --above all-- judicious man who would give a person a fair hearing before mocking and condemning him. Or her.
The offense is easily explained. The heading is a take off on his book title, Slouching Toward Gommorrah, taken from the Yeats poem (an excellent one). Gommorrah, as in Sodom and Gommorah, is a disgusting biblical city full of sin and debauchery, which God destroyed. Had Bork said "Slouching Toward a Liberal Court" that would be ok. In this case, his heading placed Miers personally in the place of the ugly thing to be avoided at all costs. The title personally attacked Miers as a great undesireable.
There are folks here who oppose Miers because Bush hasn't been "conservative enough," because of his "illegals' amnesty" proposal, because he's a "big spender," because of a lot of other reasons which have rubbed conservatives the wrong way. But they are opposing Miers for the wrong reasons -- or to put it another way, Bush's performance on spending, on immigration, on education, have nothing to do with the issue of his appointments to the judiciary -- these issues, while torquing many conservatives, are irrelevant to the issue at hand, and that is the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. In fact, Bush's appointments to the judiciary have been sound. He's asked conservatives to "trust me," and the response of many (including, apparently, Bork) has been, "Why should we trust you? You've governed like a RINO!"...except on the issue of judicial appointments. As far as I know, Bush's appointments to the federal courts have been stellar. IMHO, he's earned our trust on this particular issue.
Further explanation, in the poem the anti christ is born and the poem asks "What rough beast is this that slouches toward Gommorrah?" The slouching has nothing to do with stealthiness or lazinesss leading to a bad result. It's just part of the description of the ugly beast slouching toward the depraved biblical city. In Bork's book "gommorrah" meant the immoral world the leftists would create. Miers' name should not have been placed there in the title. It was a total personal attack on her.
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