Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Group think writ-large

"I know her well enough to be able to say she's not going to change . . . Twenty years from now . . . . her philosophy won't change."

So said President George W. Bush about Harriet Miers, at a press conference this morning in the Rose Garden, according to the Washington Post.

Now, the last time I remember Bush giving such high praise to someone he nominated, it sounded something like this, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.”

And do we really want someone on the Supreme Court who is, “not going to change. . . . Twenty years from now. . . . her philosophy won't change.

Forget what specifically that judicial philosophy is (activist courts striking up prayer in schools, and government money for private religious programs; a shrinking role for government in protecting the weak, and a larger role for government in promoting the interests of the powerful), what scares me is that a President who’s administration has been the embodiment of rule-by-yes-men and a group-think that makes the Johnson White House's head-long rush into Vietnam look like the Oxford Debating Society.

Forget partisan politics, forget issue-focuses on reproductive issues, campaign finance, or whatever your pet topic is. Will the United States be better off with person on the bench whose primary qualifications are roughly equivalent to Mike Brown’s? She was Bush’s private attorney, and his Oval Office secretary. She was head of the Texas Bar, and worked in the White House Counsel’s office. But hasn’t proven a legal, juridical, moral or ethical qualification to be a Justice of the Supreme Court.

For a person to be elevated from a position where policy impact is minimal, to monumental (whether activist, revisionist, constructionist, or originalist) ought to result in a significant shift in one’s worldview, and the way one approaches work. To say that a nominee’s main selling point is that, confronted with a very different operating environment (the Bench) combined with a 20-year time horizon for an evolving U.S., she will not change. That sounds like me trying to sell a Commodore-64 to NASA as an excellent piece of computing equipment because NASA will “know what it’s getting.”

President Bush, you may not take the American people very seriously, but many of your fellow-citizens do. Please stop patronizing us, and nominate people to the bench who are competent to be on it, not those who look like "

3 comments:

alektra said...

Even the Christian Coalition doesn't like her. When we ALL agree?...

The Old Man said...

Is this a smoke screen? Has the Pres. offered up a sacrificial lamb to avert attention from his real choice, some truly evil doer waiting in the wings, after the far right and the far left spend all of their energy doing in this nominee?

Chinahand said...

Smoke Screen? I don't think so. I think the way this administration works is a bit different than most. He put up what he thought was a good compromise nominee: John Roberts.

Since the administration was nice and compromised, it thinks it should be able to put in someone who would fit in well in the cabinet or on the White House staff. Because that's how compromises work in the Bush-world.

Also, if it's been 48 hours and everyone is already upset, I don't think there will be much energy wasted on settling why Mier shouldn't be the nod. It also works as a test-case for people interested in blocking radical judicial nominees and gives them an opportunity to coalesce into a voltron-like fighting force.

That's not something I'd allow to happen on purpose, if I really did have the uber-conservative nominee waiting in the wings.