Sunday, October 09, 2005

Miers is in Deep Trouble

The Miers confirmation seems under threat from more than just the right wing of the Republican Party, as I said before in this space, the cronyism that lies behind this choice is very disturbing, and that cronyism could pose a great threat to judicial indipendence. As Luckovich puts it so excellently:

But on a more serious note, the problem with this nomination seem to grow every minute. Bush's only problem is not just criticism from Senators like Roberts and Allen who think she's not conservative enough, but now Arlen Specter says she doesn't understand the Constitution.
Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who presides over confirmation hearings, offered a blunt assessment that was yet another sign that the nominee faced an uphill battle on Capitol Hill. Though Mr. Specter called Ms. Miers "intellectually able," he said she had a "fair-sized job to do" to become fluent in the language of constitutional law, which will be essential for senators who want to examine her judicial philosophy in deciding whether to confirm her.

"She needs more than murder boards," Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in an interview, referring to the mock question-and-answer sessions most nominees use to prepare for their confirmation hearings. "She needs a crash course in constitutional law."

So, Mr. Specter essentially come out and says that Bush nominated someone who doesn't know enough about the Constitution to be a Supreme Court Justice. If the President knows what's best for him he'll withdraw her nomination and he'll look weak, but not as weak as if the Senate were to reject Miers.

I have mixed emotions about the nomination. Miers is a crony, Specter doesn't think she knows the Constitution, and she threatens the indipendence of the federal judiciary. However, Bush is likely to draw a clear lesson from a rejection here, that he needs to nominate someone more like Rehnquist, Scalia, or Thomas. He'll draw the lesson that he cannot nominate someone who might be percieved (rightly or wrongly) as a moderate. So, what would I prefer to see on the Court? Someone who will is likely to increase executive power, is not sufficiently indipendent from the President, and seems to not know anything about the Constitution? Or someone who is indipendent, knows the Constitution, and rejects every Constitutional principle I beleive in? It is a definate pickle, and I am not sure how this should come out, nor am I convinced of any action that Democrats should take. She may be the lesser of two evils, but is there any real justification to vote for someone who is unqualified for the job?

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