Democrats & Liberals Archives

Government by Crony

President George W. Bush chose Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. Conservatives are unhappy with this choice because Miers is not a movement conservative. Liberals are unhappy with this choice because she is obviously a stealth candidate. I believe that nobody should vote for her confirmation because she is not qualified for the job. She got the nomination because she has been a longtime crony of Bush. This is the most recent and most appalling example of government by crony.

Harriet Miers is a 60-year old lady working as a Whitehouse counsel. In her younger days, she was a corporate lawyer and briefly headed the Texas state bar association. In Texas, she became a private lawyer for Bush, who appointed her to the Texas Lottery Commission, where she served for 5 years. When Bush came to Washington, he brought Miers as a staff secretary. Last year he appointed her to the job she holds now at the Whitehouse.

Conservatives are Unhappy

Conservatives are bewildered by this appointment. They were expecting a fire-breathing conservative. Instead they got someone who may not be one of them. They have doubts. At one time Miers supported the enactment of laws and public policy which provide that sexual orientation shall not be a bar to adoption of a child. She also recommended the development and establishment of an International Criminal Court.

Conservatives are extremely upset. Here is a small sample of what prominent conservatives are saying:

Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard:

"I'M DISAPPOINTED, depressed and demoralized."

Right Wing News:

"Miers is a Bush crony with no real conservative credentials, who leapfrogged legions of more deserving judges just because she was Bush's pal. She used to be Bush's staff secretary for God's sake and now she's going to the Supreme Court while people like Michael Luttig, Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown & Emilio Garza are being left on the sidelines."

Power Line:

"I'm sure that she is a capable lawyer and a loyal aide to President Bush. But the bottom line is that he had a number of great candidates to choose from, and instead of picking one of them--Luttig, McConnell, Brown, or a number of others--he nominated someone whose only obvious qualification is her relationship with him."

Liberals are Unhappy

Miers evidently is pro-business. She has been a corporate attorney for 30 years and she specialized in commercial litigation, including antitrust and trade regulations and intellectual property disputes. She was the head of Locke, Liddell and Saap, a legal firm that is linked with DeLay's TRMPAC.

She is an evangelical. She has been a member of the Valley View Christian Church, which claims to be conseravative evangelical (but not fundamentalist) for 25 years. During her stint with the bar association she displayed an apparently anti-abortion view.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht calls Miers an originalist:

"She's an orginalist -- that's the way she takes the Bible and that's her approach to the Constitution as well -- Originalist -- it means what it says."

None of this is clear and definite. Liberals do not know much about her ideas about the Constitution - or about anything else related to the law.

Cronyism

Bush and his cronies are repeating the Republican mantra "Interpret the law, don't make law." Miers, they say will do just that. How do they know? She was never a judge. What's her judicial philosophy? Who knows? Is she even qualified for the job? Before becoming Whitehouse counsel last year, she was a staff secretary. In the past she spent 5 years on the Texas Lottery Commission. These are not jobs for people steeped in the law. Can you imagine Justice Roberts spending 5 years on a lottery commission?

Miers got nominated because of pure cronyism. Here are quotations from 3 people, none of whom may remotely be labeled liberal:

Professor Geoffrey R. Stone:

"I have been a professor of constitutional law for more than thirty years and an editor of the Supreme Court Review for more than a decade, but until George Bush dredged up Harriet Miers from Dallas to join him in the White House, I’d never even heard of her.... Ms. Miers. She received her law degree in 1970 from Southern Methodist University, which is not even among the top fifty law schools in the nation."

David Frum [posted briefly on his site and then removed]:

"She rose to her present position by her absolute devotion to George Bush. I mentioned last week that she told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. To flatter on such a scale a person must either be an unscrupulous dissembler, which Miers most certainly is not, or a natural follower. And natural followers do not belong on the Supreme Court of the United States."

Rich Lowry:

"Just talked to a very pro-Bush legal type who says he is ashamed and embarrassed this morning. Says Miers was with an undistinguished law firm; never practiced constitutional law; never argued any big cases; never was on law review; has never written on any of the important legal issues. Says she's not even second rate, but is third rate. Dozens and dozens of women would have been better qualified. Says a crony at FEMA is one thing, but on the high court is something else entirely. Her long history of activity with ABA is not encouraging from a conservative perspective--few conservatives would spend their time that way. In short, he says the pick is 'deplorable.'"

Summary

In order to avoid a fight, Bush nominated a non-entity to the Supreme Court. Miers is not liked by conservatives. Nor is she liked by liberals. Nor should she be confirmed. She is not qualified to be a justice in the highest court of the land. Bush nominated her because she is a crony. Look at how many lives were lost in New Orleans because Bush practiced cronyism with FEMA. Here the stakes are even higher. Tell your senator to vote NOT to confirm Miers.

Bush does not believe in merit. He believes only in loyalty - another word for cronyism. We must get rid of cronyism in government. We must change parties in order to bring merit back into government.

Posted by Paul Siegel at October 4, 2005 7:57 PM
Comments
Comment #83611

Yeah, but she thinks George is brilliant.

Posted by: Rocky at October 4, 2005 8:42 PM
Comment #83618

Paul,

Up until the last paragraph you have some valid points although I do not agree with all of them. But your comment about “we must change parties to bring merit back to the government” tends to negate those points because you are sounding like the partisan hack you accuse others of being. Both parties play the same game to keep power. You can debate the degree that each side plays the game but that is about all.

Just curious what qualifications a person should have to be on the Supreme Court since you say she is not qualified. Is judicial experience needed? I guess it is a matter of opinion. I would prefer a justice with a respect for the law, knowledge of the constitution, and a legal mind to interpret it. I am not sure that Miers has those qualifications but on the other hand there is nothing to say that she does not either.

There are many conservatives - as well as liberals - who are not happy about her nomination. That does not mean that she would not make a good justice though since it is merely a matter of opinion.

Just do not see the need for an uproar about her is all.

Mike P

Posted by: Mike P at October 4, 2005 9:09 PM
Comment #83619

I wouldn’t be pushing for another candidate, especially since most of the names that would make the conservatives that are unhappy happy? Would not make liberals happy.

I suggest waiting until the hearings and hoping that the end result isn’t someone like Brown….

Posted by: Lisa Renee at October 4, 2005 9:14 PM
Comment #83636

I was just commenting in the center column on how the wall to wall Texan-Bush-Cronies are really starting to give me the willies.
It just seems to show how fearfully tiny W’s little world really is. Of how threatened he must be of those who have achieved true distinction and eminence by the power of their own intellect.
I personally feel that if he was a confident, patriotic and true leader, he’d select only the most brilliant minds to rise to every position of power in our government.
To be a mensch along the lines of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said things like these:

“I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”

And:
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”

What else is such rampant cronyism to be called but ownership of government by a group?

Lisa Renee:
“I suggest waiting until the hearings and hoping that the end result isn’t someone like Brown….”

Yes. As obviously a crony, and as lackluster in qualifications as Miers is, a choice like Rogers-Brown would be the true nightmare nominee.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 4, 2005 10:34 PM
Comment #83641

Democratic senators suggested Miers to Bush, so I’d be surprised if they turned around now and started saying she was unqualifed. How would that make them look?

I still haven’t made up my mind about her. I have definite reservations (for reasons others—including Adrienne to my surprise) have already mentioned.

As far as her being “unqualified,” her resume alone doesn’t say that to me. There have great Supreme Court Justices who had never served as judges before—many who were Senators, governors and the like. She an extensive legal background so it’s not as if this is totally out of her field.

For me, it all depends on her performance in the hearings. If she’s impressive, I’m sure many of or fears will be put to rest. If not, then I’d have no problem with her getting voted down.

Posted by: sanger at October 4, 2005 11:09 PM
Comment #83642

The Miers nomination is incredibly underwhelming, a gross example of cronyism.

I’d like to see the Dems & libs refrain from threats of filibuster. Hopefully Reid will release the Senators to vote their consciences. That would remove the stigma of partisanship from opposition to her nomination, making it easier for both sides of the aisle to join in voting against her, and rejecting the appointment of a political crony to such an important position.

It’s worth noting another nominee could be both more formidable & objectionable to liberals; there are some extremely unpalatable possibilities out there, potential nominees with a proven record of being far to the right. From a purely partisan point of view, I don’t think Dems would do much better than Miers. Despite that, the issue of cronyism alone disqualifies her in my mind.

I would hope people from all sides of the political spectrum would reject this nomination. Really, the country deserves better than this.

Posted by: phx8 at October 4, 2005 11:12 PM
Comment #83646

A case for or against Meirs will have to be based on her qualifications and temperment, which requires much greater attention to facts beyond the single one that she’s worked for the administration.

The fact that two people have worked together is not in itself a disqualification. The Meirs appointment still doesn’t rise to the level of John F Kennedy appointing his campaign manager to the Supreme Court. If Bush had nominated Karl Rove or Jeb Bush, then it would be a different story, but Meirs does have a background in law which at least entitles her to consideration now that she’s the nominee.

Should she be supported? I don’t know. She needs to prove herself first, so at this point it’s wait and see.

Posted by: sanger at October 4, 2005 11:35 PM
Comment #83649

If it was GWB’s goal to do something profound with this nomination, he fell quite short. He substituted preeminence with mediocrity. He siezed the opportunity to nominate an individual with the credentials to bring the loftiest level of intellect and experience to the highest court in the land, and decided to phone it in.
Instead of making his mark on the Supreme Court for nominating the best and the brightest, he will make his mark for merely using the opportunity as another chance to reward one of his cronies.
Whether you are conservative, liberal, or in-between, you can’t be pleased with this. He should have done better.

Posted by: Cole at October 4, 2005 11:43 PM
Comment #83652

Here is something to at least think about.

Meirs is one in a long history of Supreme Court nominees with diverse backgrounds and close connections to the presidents who named them.

Speaking for myself, I’d want to know as much as about someone as possible before appointing them to such a high post, so it’s at least understandable why so many presidents have taken this route.

It doesn’t mean that a candidate is either good or bad—you have to judge each one on his or her individual merits.

One very unfair criticism I’ve heard is that Meirs didn’t go to a top ranked law school. That’s a terribly elitist point of view, not just in law but other fields. “Top schools” graduate their share of idiots, while less prestigious institutions graduate plenty of well qualifed and talented people.

Think about it. Did you go to an Ivy League School? If not, in your profession, whatever that is, do you feel that you don’t deserve to rise to the top of your field if you have the talent and ability?

If you DID attend an Ivy League school, do you think that you’re automatically better than everybody else and that thirty years after graduation you deserve special consideration because of your college?

Unfortunately, many people feel this way—especially among the pundit class.

Posted by: sanger at October 5, 2005 12:20 AM
Comment #83684

Sanger,
No question, the hearings will be interesting, and make or break her approval by the Senate.

No one knows much about her. You’re right, an ordinary education should not disqualify her; but by the same token, it doesn’t help differentiate her from competition. Other accomplishments on her resume are fine, but again, serving on a city council doesn’t exactly knock the socks off the competition.

And yes, there have been nominees in the past who never served on a court, and others who could be viewed as mere cronies.

But we don’t owe her anything, Sanger. Not a thing.

Other than being a close associate of the President, a crony, there simply is no compelling reason to see her placed on the SC.

The hearings will be interesting if she leans forward, and answers questions. She won’t have the latitude other nominees have had in the past; given the blanks in her background, refusing to answer questions based on executive priv will leave a lot of people cold. She doesn’t have to answer questions. She doesn’t have to be approved, either.

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2005 2:02 AM
Comment #83690

Good post Paul. Miers obviously got the nod based on loyalty — cronyism, as you put it. But, as phx8 pointed out, it could have been worse. Unless she comes off as a complete wack-job incompetent in the confirmation hearings, Democrats won’t block it.

Republicans, on the other hand… George Will is encouraging Republicans to do all the things he previously blasted Democrats for. He wants a “protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers,” to be guided by three rules:

  • it is not important that she be confirmed
  • it might be very important that she not be.
  • the presumption should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due

Just for fun, Democrats should start calling for an immediate up or down vote. :D

Posted by: American Pundit at October 5, 2005 2:35 AM
Comment #83693

I just have to point out again that she thinks George Bush is brilliant.

Posted by: Rocky at October 5, 2005 2:58 AM
Comment #83723

Why should this nomination surprise us….this is the man who appointed a horse judge to FEMA. At least a horse judge has some experience as a “judge”…..Brown would have probably got the nomination except for a little bad press recently.

Posted by: Bill Harrison at October 5, 2005 8:44 AM
Comment #83726

Wow, who would have guessed that the left column would be in an uproar over a George Bush action? I’m simply stunned!

The left column wallows in its uncomfort, enjoys its pain, and seeks out adversity at any cost. Had Bush appointed a Sam Alito or Phyllis Brown—-namely a known truly conservative jurist—this coumn would have been in an uproar.

Bush nominates someone with conservative leanings, but no strong track record of the kind of arch conservativism the left is afraid of, and the left column is in an uproar.

Ok left columnites…..lets put you to the test. Who would have been an acceptable candidate for Bush to have presented? No fair tossing out liberal candidates, since of course the 2004 election was in its way a referendum on allowing Bush to choose. Had Kerry won, he wouldn’t have been expected to select a conservative….lets not fall on the canard that Bush should appoint a liberal.

Okay then…lets hear some names of people that the left would accept or even applaud, given that the nominee would have some level of conservative leaning.

I’ll be waiting to hear who would be acceptable. I know for some of you this is an impossible task, since ANYone Bush appointed, you would feel the inescapable need to oppose.

Names, people, names…….

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 5, 2005 8:58 AM
Comment #83728

JBOD, so far, I don’t have a problem with Miers. The cronyism is unsurprising, and I don’t know much about her except that Sen. Reid doesn’t have a big problem with her. The confirmation hearing will be interesting.

Posted by: American Pundit at October 5, 2005 9:07 AM
Comment #83741

As Rocky said before: this is a person who thinks George Bush is brilliant… What kind of jugdment is this would be JUSTICE capable of?

Posted by: German at October 5, 2005 9:46 AM
Comment #83743

Well, there is that… :)

Posted by: American Pundit at October 5, 2005 9:54 AM
Comment #83756

AP:

Thank you for the wise and intelligent answer. Compared to some of the comments, it was a breath of fresh air.

I need to make clear that I have yet to decide in my own mind whether Miers is someone I’d support. I recognize that her resume is not as full as some would want; on the opposite side, I recognize that sometimes a full resume simply gives people more targets to shoot at.

That she has not been a judge before is not a disqualification—there have been others on the bench with the same status, such as Chief Justice Earl Warren. It does make me want to hear more about her, and to see how she responds to rhe confirmation process. Her lack of experience as a judge raises questions that need to be answered, but….its important to wait for the answers rather than condemning her immediately as some are doing.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 5, 2005 10:31 AM
Comment #83757

So everyone seems a bit miffed at the nomination of Miers; too obscure, a crony, personal friend and associate - too close, little experience, light-weight, too conservative, not conservative enough…like many other appointments to important positions the criteria for selection and for approving a selection are murky at best. Just another example of our political system at work. I thought there was a precident against this sort of nomination i.e., personal associates, friends, staff members, etc. as set forth by Jefferson in the Federalist Papers early on in our nationhood.

But what is really startling is Bush’s statement that ‘she is the best candidate I could find’…this in itself speaks volumes. We should demand better there is too much at stake!

Posted by: Bill at October 5, 2005 10:31 AM
Comment #83758

What I find interesting about this nomination is that she was arrived at in the same way that Dick Cheney was. Not many can argue that Dick Cheney is a capable VP. Of course, democrats will because they don’t like him, but Cheney is an extremely smart man who also thinks highly of President Bush.

As far as cronyism, most presidents don’t spend years reading all of the arguments of judges to determine thier ideology. They rely on others to report those things to them. So the question is whether Bush should rely on his own personal experience and knowledge of a nominee or whether he should rely on the judgements of those that are reporting to him. Either way, he is trusting his personal judgement of the people he knows best. Is that any more cronistic?

I’m not saying that I completely support the Miers pick. I’m very morally conservative and she appears to be as well, so for that I am pleased. I also know that all other federal judge appointments have been outstanding. Her lack of experience makes me nervous.

Many democrats were sure John Kerry was smarter than Bush, but lost. Largely because Bush picked Karl Rove as his political strategist, who is unarguably one of the smartest men in America. Seems to me that Bush knows how to pick smart, capable winners.

Posted by: jacktruth at October 5, 2005 10:46 AM
Comment #83761

Being an independent I fall in the middle on most things. But this just reeks of cronyism, and the reaction from a lot of the right has me worried.

They talk about “Well, you just have to trust the president. Have faith in his choice.” I don’t mean to be cynical (ok maybe I do), but this isn’t church, GW isn’t diety or a prophet. I don’t want to have faith that the CEO of Delta Airlines didn’t appoint his friends to be the pilots. I want to know he didn’t. I don’t want to have faith that the surgeon in the ER got his job because he knew someone, I want to know he was qualified. Same thing here, we shouldn’t have to have faith that he picked the right person, we should at least know they’re qualified.

And to say that “We’ll wait for the confirmation hearing. If she’s not qualified she wont be confirmed.” Really, with a republican lead Senate, and some democrats already singing her praises I don’t think there’s anything short of her saying “Well I like to eat live kittens on top of a pile of dead ponies in my free time.” that could get her not confirmed.

Say what you will about Roberts the guy had an impeccable resume. Even if you didn’t agree with his philosophy, at least you knew he was qualified. The president shouldn’t have to rely on people trusting he made the right choice. Being commander in cheif doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want, a true leader shows why he’s a leader time and time again.

Posted by: chantico at October 5, 2005 11:27 AM
Comment #83763

chantico, I don’t believe there actually are any qualifications for the job of Supreme Court Justice.

You’re absolutely right that President Bush could have picked someone with more experience, but it’s his choice. Americans knew he’d be picking at least one USSC justice if he was re-elected, and 51% voted for him anyhow. Unless she really does “eat live kittens”, she’ll probably be confirmed — unless the Republican Senators aren’t happy with her.

Posted by: American Pundit at October 5, 2005 11:35 AM
Comment #83764

And I should add, there were worse picks he could have made.

Posted by: American Pundit at October 5, 2005 11:36 AM
Comment #83767

Miers will get thumbs-up votes from our “follow the leader” Idaho Senators.

Posted by: BC-Salmon at October 5, 2005 11:50 AM
Comment #83768

Could it be that Bush chose this moment to make good on his stated desire to be a uniter not a divider?

United in consternation.

Very unique approach.

Posted by: jo at October 5, 2005 11:50 AM
Comment #83773

From what I see, there are two ways to look at the Miers nomination.

BTW, I dismiss cronyism altogether. Ever since JFK made his BROTHER Attorney General, any other act of cronyism pales in comparison. I consider it a non-issue.

I actually thought that Bush would have been smart enough to nominate a “fire-eater” and let the Dems have a field day, while saving his “real” nomination until after the “fire-eater” had been blown out of the saddle.

That would have been more fun than Bork toking a joint or finding a pubic hair on Thomas’s Coke can.

But I digress.

One way to look at the nomination is that she hasn’t (so far) done anything controversial enough to enrage anyone and is a “safe” nomination.

Another way to look at it is to actually give Bush a little credit for a “smart” move.

Miers has interacted with all the Washington crowd and they already know her and she already knows how to “play the game”.

Why else would the Dem leader in the Senate come out so quickly in her favor? Why else has there been such a “soft” reaction in the Senate?

Instead of not liking her because of cronyism, I really don’t like her because of her Washington “insider” ties.

Posted by: Jim T at October 5, 2005 12:05 PM
Comment #83782

jacktruth,

Many democrats were sure John Kerry was smarter than Bush, but lost. Largely because Bush picked Karl Rove as his political strategist, who is unarguably one of the smartest men in America. Seems to me that Bush knows how to pick smart, capable winners.

What he’s waiting to mission them in Iraq!?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 5, 2005 1:01 PM
Comment #83784

Interesting…..not a single name so far in response to my request. Interesting…but not at all surprising.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 5, 2005 1:05 PM
Comment #83797
What he’s waiting to mission them in Iraq!?
Please translate to English. Posted by: jacktruth at October 5, 2005 2:19 PM
Comment #83801

Joe,
Every supreme court nominee will be put under pressure, which is right and good. Roberts flew through the process little more than obligatory noise from the left. His passage was never in doubt.

Candidates which would generate some heat, but probably also sail through include Clement, Garza.

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2005 2:36 PM
Comment #83805

jacktruth,

What he’s waiting to send them them in Iraq!?

(does it make more sense?)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 5, 2005 3:16 PM
Comment #83807

jbod:
“I’ll be waiting to hear who would be acceptable. I know for some of you this is an impossible task, since ANYone Bush appointed, you would feel the inescapable need to oppose.”

This is completely untrue, but I know it pleases you to call everyone on the left unreasonable whiners and complainers, Joe.
But to answer your question…
If it had to be a conservative, my pick would be for J. Harvie Wilkinson. He is a moderate who graduated from Yale and now sits on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He has a brilliant legal mind, plenty of experience, and I bet he’d sail right through, too.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 5, 2005 3:17 PM
Comment #83808

Oh and btw, along with the fact that Harriet Miers thinks W is brilliant, another reason we should’t want to see her appointed is because fanatical evangelical James Dobson has now come out in favor her.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 5, 2005 3:23 PM
Comment #83817
What he’s waiting to send them them in Iraq!?

I now understand what you are saying a little more, but I don’t have a clue what it means to the topic. President Bush is waiting to send Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Harriet Miers to Iraq? Maybe it’s not worth continuing the conversation.

Posted by: jacktruth at October 5, 2005 3:52 PM
Comment #83827

Oh Lord! Not James Dobson! Has she been
approved by Jerry Fallwell too?
I could approve Dan Quayle for SCOTUS. I always
thought he got a raw deal.

Posted by: Disgusted in GA at October 5, 2005 5:07 PM
Comment #83829

Adrienne:

You say “I know it pleases you to call everyone on the left unreasonable whiners and complainers”. I guess you missed the part of my quote where I very conspicuously and specifically stated that “I know for some of you this is an impossible task…” (emphasis mine)

I call a spade a spade, and what I’ve been hearing is whining and complaining. The choices Bush made in Roberts and Miers could have been far far more conservative than they were; despite that, the “left” has been in its usual fervent uproar.

Thank you though for providing a name, and thanks to Phx8 as well for his names. Nice to know that at least some of the left column was able to respond in an informed manner.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 5, 2005 5:19 PM
Comment #83836

JBOD:

As far as other choices, what about Michael J. Luttig or Emilio Garza? Either conservative candidate would have given both sides something to cheer for, and both have much more experience. Garza takes care of the minority aspect.
Both are distinguished jurists with very honorable track records in the law. Both are “men of law” (as opposed to politics), and can back that up. Either could be stellar choices.

Posted by: Cole at October 5, 2005 5:40 PM
Comment #83840

Disgusted in GA:
“Oh Lord! Not James Dobson! Has she been
approved by Jerry Fallwell too?”

If she hasn’t, she probably will be. After all, she’s an Evangelical, and they usually stick together — united in their fervor to destroy the separation between church and state and shove their brand of religion and morality down America’s collective throat.
Dobson’s support tells us everything we need to know about how Harriet Miers will vote on abortion, gay rights issues, and doctor assisted suicide. Indeed why even complain if she doesn’t choose to answer any questions when Dobson’s endorsement has already answered them?

Posted by: Adrienne at October 5, 2005 6:10 PM
Comment #83843

Bottom line, The Supreme Court is not the place to learn on the job.

And no, it cannot be ignored that she thinks someone named Dubya is intelligent! Deliver me!

Posted by: Jill at October 5, 2005 6:28 PM
Comment #83870

Just in case anybody forgot, Miers thinks Bush is brilliant…and who does her mascara? Cripes! Magic Marker?

Posted by: Mike Jackson at October 5, 2005 11:45 PM
Comment #83967

Cole:

From what I’ve heard, Luttig would not be acceptable to the left, and I don’t know anything about Garza other than that he would appeal to those wanting a Hispanic. Thanks for the names.

Adrienne:

You seem to be focusing more on Miers’ personal viewpoints than on her potential adjudication of the law. In your opinion, is it more important to appoint someone to the court who believes as you do, or to have someone who will uphold the law despite whatever personal views they have? I know both are important, since they relate to each other. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to “rule” against my friends because of a particular issue—the issue itself was more the deciding factor than the friendship, so I “ruled” with my head, not my heart. Is that not what we want from a SCOTUS nominee? I’m not questioning your motives, but really trying to understand how you see the difference between personal and professional ideals in this regard.

Additionally, I think its unfortunate to see how much venom you have for evangelical Christians. Most people I know who have similar venom are basing their opinions on perceptions that I don’t see as mirroring reality. For instance, many evangelical Christians are among those helping with the aftermath of the Katrina disaster—I don’t see that as a negative. Many evangelical churches are among those giving much needed money. The list goes on and on, yet you see only the opposition to your viewpoints.

Of course, as with any group there are evangelical Christians who don’t live up to their own standards, just as there are doctors, lawyers, or politicians who don’t live up to theirs. But I doubt it is acceptable to damn them all based on the actions of the few. If so, we can damn the entire Louisiana police community based on the actions of a few cowardly or criminal cops.

I’d hope you could see the other side of the coin, but it appears you’ve made up your mind and are not really looking for that side of the coin. Perhaps you have your reasons; nonetheless, I fear you are missing the bigger picture which contains the fuller truth about evangelicism.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 6, 2005 7:59 AM
Comment #84013

Jbod, Re: Miers Evangelicalism:
“I’m not questioning your motives, but really trying to understand how you see the difference between personal and professional ideals in this regard.”

This is a reply I put up yesterday in response to another poster, I don’t think I could explain my feelings on this topic any clearer, so I’ll post it here for you to read:

Dennis: “The thing that disturbs me is the quote about being an absolute literalist when interpreting the Bible. Assuming she believes literally what the Bible says, I�ve got concerns about her objectivity in the performance of her work.”

Yes, I absolutely share this concern, Dennis.
Because IMO, the ability to think objectively and the strict adherence to the ponderous dogma of Evangelicalism are two things which have never, and will never, go together.
In fact, if I am to be perfectly honest I would have to say that someone who is an absolute literalist when interpreting the bible is automatically displaying a mind that is Starved of Reason, Narrowly Restricted and Pre-programed, indeed, Crippled.

I am aware that this might sound very harsh, but nonetheless, think it is quite true — due to the fact that within the bible there can be found such a mass of contradictions that it would follow that this kind of person would very likely be a confused sort of thinker. And when paired with the highly bigoted and discriminatory views of modern-day Evangelicalism, and it’s political agendas, I feel that could only be a blight upon the nations highest court.

Such a mentality paired with a such strict adherence to religious dogma is the very last thing we should ever want in a lifetime appointed judge who is to sit on the SC bench — because they hold the ultimate power in interpreting Constitutional Law. Laws which in turn, affect ALL American’s.

“What comes first for her, ecclesiastical law or secular law?”

From the Evangelicals I’ve been aquainted with (some I’ve known quite well, others more superficially), I would say that a large majority of them consider themselves Evangelical Christians first, and American’s second. If Harriet Miers is as strict a literalist as has been posited here, then I believe that ecclesiastical law would often play an enormous role in many of her decisions.

“Additionally, I think its unfortunate to see how much venom you have for evangelical Christians. Most people I know who have similar venom are basing their opinions on perceptions that I don’t see as mirroring reality. For instance, many evangelical Christians are among those helping with the aftermath of the Katrina disaster—I don’t see that as a negative. Many evangelical churches are among those giving much needed money. The list goes on and on, yet you see only the opposition to your viewpoints.”

It is not venom or hatred, Joe. The only area where I am hostile toward evangelicals is in the political arena — because I realize that they would like to see the wall of separation between Church and State completely torn down. And I view that as being antithetical with respect for the First Amendment and with the basic idea of American Freedom in the larger sense.
I realize that these people do a great deal of good in many other areas of our society — in fact. doing charity work is how I’ve become acquainted with so many of them, and I feel they deserve nothing but praise for wanting to help others. Truly.

“But I doubt it is acceptable to damn them all based on the actions of the few.”

If it was only the actions of a few then you’d never hear me speak so harshly on this subject. But since they have a clear political agenda and a powerful machine running it, I feel forced by necessity to put my opinions regarding their goals out here in no uncertain terms.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 6, 2005 11:48 AM
Comment #84016

Adrienne,

If it was only the actions of a few then you’d never hear me speak so harshly on this subject. But since they have a clear political agenda and a powerful machine running it, I feel forced by necessity to put my opinions regarding their goals out here in no uncertain terms.

Well said. This also mirrors my position concerning the clear gay agenda in politics and so my strong avoidance of voting democratic.

i am sure the republican party likewise loses as many votes as the dems— because both parties are being controlled by these fringe groups.

Posted by: jo at October 6, 2005 11:59 AM
Comment #84040

Adrienne:

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. I don’t think its accurate, but I appreciate how you’ve reached it.

Allow me to state unequivocally that I am an evangelical Christian. I believe the Bible to be inerrant, but….I believe man’s interpretation of the Bible to be open to errancy. I suppose you could say that I believe the Bible literally, though when the Bible says the “sun sets” I recognize it not as literal, but more figurative.

I’d hope that in my posts, you have seen my ability to think objectively, that I have solid reasoning behind my thoughts and that I don’t simply spout off pre-programmed ideas (I’d hope you’ve seen evidence also of my sparkling wit also, but I digress ;). This doesn’t mean that you in any way need to agree with my viewpoints, but rather that you see there is a viable foundation upon which my viewpoints are built.

I think personal beliefs and politics mix all the time, whether religion is involved or not. Liberals derive their political viewpoints from their personal beliefs, as do conservatives. To consider a religious personal belief different than a secular personal belief is a dangerous road to go down. I think it goes down the road of creating a State advocated NON religion. I’m okay with the separation of church and state, but I’m not okay with the state telling me I cannot use my personal religious thoughts in any public manner.

I’d agree that a politician cannot base everything only on religion, but neither should that politician be foreced to based everything in the absence of their religion.

I’d suggest that the viewpoint you have of evangelicals is as tainted as if I were to base a view of all liberals on the writings of those liberals in Watchblog. I also think its very easy to mischaracterize people, be they liberals or evangelicals. You’ve seen above how I hold to the Bible being inerrant, but I also leave room for man’s fallibility. Were someone to characterize me as being pre-programmed in my belief based on my claim of Biblical inerrancy, I’d have to say they missed the import of my viewpoints, perhaps even on purpose to further their argument.

In any event, I hope you can open your mind to the possibility that you have seen only the negative side of Christians, and recognize that there is much that you are missing in your viewpoint.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 6, 2005 1:56 PM
Comment #84058

“Allow me to state unequivocally that I am an evangelical Christian. I believe the Bible to be inerrant, but….I believe man’s interpretation of the Bible to be open to errancy. I suppose you could say that I believe the Bible literally, though when the Bible says the “sun sets” I recognize it not as literal, but more figurative.”

No doubt the fact that you are able to leave room for interpretation is the reason I can respect you — and actually have fun arguing with you! ;^)
Please note that in what I wrote, I used the term “absolute literalist”. It is those people who I feel who have the most potential to become dangerous in our government. And definitely someone like that who I would consider a very bad choice to become a Supreme Court Justice.

“I’d hope that in my posts, you have seen my ability to think objectively, that I have solid reasoning behind my thoughts and that I don’t simply spout off pre-programmed ideas”

I have indeed, and as I said, can respect you as a result.

(I’d hope you’ve seen evidence also of my sparkling wit also, but I digress ;).

And here I was hoping you’d noticed mine! ;^)

“This doesn’t mean that you in any way need to agree with my viewpoints, but rather that you see there is a viable foundation upon which my viewpoints are built.”

I strongly believe in the first amendment, Joe. I feel you have every right to your viewpoints, however, I don’t want you, or anyone else suspending their powers of critical thinking in favor of using their religion when it comes to making laws that will affect the religious and the non-religious alike. In essense, I think this is the danger of Fundamentalism of any sort — because religious edicts narrow freedoms, dictate morality, and can promote prejudice and bigotry.

“I think personal beliefs and politics mix all the time, whether religion is involved or not. Liberals derive their political viewpoints from their personal beliefs, as do conservatives.”

I agree.

“To consider a religious personal belief different than a secular personal belief is a dangerous road to go down.”

I think it depends entirely upon how fervently anyone wishes to dictate their beliefs to others, whether religious or secular. In my opinion to dictate through ideology just ain’t Amercian.

“I think it goes down the road of creating a State advocated NON religion.”

I want the wall of separation to stand. State not imposing upon religion, religion not impossing upon the State. That’s Freedom in a nutshell.

“I’m okay with the separation of church and state, but I’m not okay with the state telling me I cannot use my personal religious thoughts in any public manner.”

I can understand that. I personally don’t have a problem with public religious observances — unless they become excessive or obviously discriminatory. I know that some people do — but I’m not among that group. I do however, think that such displays should be kept out of courthouses or in public schools — because of the potential to foster a discriminatory atmosphere or create unnecessary friction where it doesn’t belong.

“I’d agree that a politician cannot base everything only on religion, but neither should that politician be foreced to based everything in the absence of their religion.”

I don’t either. Personally I like free thinkers — and feel that reading from a wide range of thoughts on philosophy and religion can add greatly to a persons intellect and understanding.

“I’d suggest that the viewpoint you have of evangelicals is as tainted as if I were to base a view of all liberals on the writings of those liberals in Watchblog.”

I don’t think this is fair. It is the stated evangelical political agendas and the political action machine that I stand so firmly against — it is emphatically not the individual people, or their religious faith.

“Were someone to characterize me as being pre-programmed in my belief based on my claim of Biblical inerrancy, I’d have to say they missed the import of my viewpoints, perhaps even on purpose to further their argument.”

Well, take out the words “Biblical inerrancy” and replace it with “Liberalism” or “Secularism” and I could certainly say the same!

“In any event, I hope you can open your mind to the possibility that you have seen only the negative side of Christians, and recognize that there is much that you are missing in your viewpoint.”

I feel I can see both the positive and negative sides of Christian’s and Christianity — but please try to understand that my main concern is not with religion at all, it is with maintaining America’s Freedom and upholding the ideas found within the Constitution.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 6, 2005 3:25 PM
Comment #84068

Adrienne:

I understand what you are trying to say, but I also critically read what you ARE saying. You’ve heard that Miers is an evangelical Christian, and are now taking a stand against her in part because of what you think that means. Is Miers more like I’ve described myself or more like you’ve described as absolute literalists? I certainly don’t know, and I doubt that you do either, but from your posts here and in other threads, it sure seems like you’ve positioned her already. Be honest….have you?

My ideas on society, morality, law etc emanate from my religious beliefs. In fact, many claim that much of society does so. We know the founding fathers had strong religious beliefs and these helped them form our country. The separation of church and state they wanted was to prevent the state from defining what religion they could believe in, rather than eliminating the church from the state. How else can you infer the use of religious phrases on our money and in our courtrooms, emanating from the beginnings of our country.

I will conclude my “preaching” though I hope to continually open the eyes of those who see Christians in such a negative light. I’d suggest, Adrienne, that more Christians fit the description that I provided than fit yours. The media does a fine job of highlighting the ones that fit yours, as does Hollywood and television. The “normal” ones like me are really pretty boring and as such don’t make good headlines like the televangelist who falls in with the hooker. But then, I am certain you are above simply falling for what popular culture and the media claim to be true.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 6, 2005 4:24 PM
Comment #84091

jbod:
“it sure seems like you’ve positioned her already. Be honest…. have you?”

I think maybe I have, Joe. For these three reasons:
1. Because she has none of the other requirements that would make me respect her as a choice for the SC.
2. Because James Dobson and Pat Robertson have come out in support of her. And as I’ve indicated, these are the leaders of the evangelical agenda and political action machine I stand so firmly against.
3. Because none of the other Republican’s (those I respect) that might add weight to her nomination have come out in support of her as of now.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 6, 2005 5:19 PM
Comment #84156

Adrienne:

Thanks for the honesty. I’d suggest giving her a chance. Her personal ideology is not what is up for question…its her judicial ability. She needs to go through a process to see if she stands capable of handling the job. I don’t recommend that they approve her just because she has been nominated.

Her thin resume gives some pause. But her personal background should not, anymore than if she were an atheist, agnostic or whatever. Remember when Clinton talked about presidents having a personal life…doesnt that apply to judges as well. In day to day job hunting, its illegal to not hire someone based on their religious affiliation, yet you want to do this for a SCOTUS nominee. I dont get that…doesnt make any sense whatsoever. Why would you toss out a right that all citizens have?

I dont know enough about Miers yet, but I’ll be finding out. Most people dont know enough about Miers yet, and I hope they take the time to do their homework before reaching conclusions.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 6, 2005 11:43 PM
Comment #84170

Has anyone mentioned that Harriet Miers thinks Bush is brilliant? Just checking…

Posted by: Blogical at October 7, 2005 12:33 AM
Comment #84172

jbod:
“Why would you toss out a right that all citizens have?”

Ordinarily never Joe, because I’m no advocate of discrimination of any kind, but in this particular case, that woman is going to hold the power to toss out some of my own rights! So I’m a bit flinchy, I must admit. Surely you can understand this, and not think me too unreasonable?
And to be perfectly honest, it really does scare the hell out of me that Dobbs and Robertson are the ones truly championing her — like they’ve been already given her word that her SC decisions will reflect their political agenda.

“I dont know enough about Miers yet, but I’ll be finding out. Most people dont know enough about Miers yet, and I hope they take the time to do their homework before reaching conclusions.”

For me, that’s one of the biggest problems — there is almost nothing to look at. So that means, it’s going to be ALL about the confirmation hearings — and I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable with only the info that she’ll be willing to divulge at that time.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 7, 2005 12:59 AM
Comment #84195

Adrienne:

I truly do think I understand, but Im surprised that you are willing to admit that you would sacrifice one person’s rights for the greater good. I was thinking that you held each person’s rights in such high esteem that you wouldnt do that. its the beginning of a long and very slippery slope.

I’ll admit to agreeing with your logic though (I’m not sure if that should worry you more…or me more….lol). Were Miers an die hard atheist, I’d certainly have concerns about how she might rule and I’d want that possiblity looked, and looked at hard.

I find Robertson a bit wacky, but Dobson is a very very good man. I know he seems overarching to you, but I’d suggest that is partly due to the context that you hear of him, along with the fact that his particular beliefs are so different from yours. I think if you read some of his writings in context, as opposed to in the manner the media conveys his comments, you would see a different person. You’d still not agree with his viewpoints, but I think you’d see more of the rationale behind them. You might come to see him somewhat in the manner you have come to see me—-“Well, he’s a Christian so he’s crazy, but….he’s not TOTALLY crazy…”

I agree with you in your other point as well. Miers might do wonderfully in the hearings—she is after all very very accomplished as a lawyer and her credentials there are very good. But it might be like a job interview where someone comes off looking much better than they really are. She might be able to parrot what people want to hear, and with no corroborrating background to really check on, we might have only that to rely on. So I have the same concerns.

But…and this is the crux for me, the country voted Bush into office which gives him the right to make this choice, for good or bad. In voting him in, the country knew he would likely be appointing at least one SCOTUS nominee, if not more. And so we live with it.

Adrienne, I really didnt think you’d sacrifice the rights of one person for the greater good though. I would do that, but I didnt think you would. I’ve agreed, for instance, with Alan Dershowitz that if there is a time factor (bomb going to go off, child going to die etc), that torture is acceptable. You basically sacrifice the rights of the one person for the greater good.

But its such a slippery slope that of course there can be abuse of the principle. I really thought you’d be one to hold to the principle in every case, rather than to tiptoe onto the slippery slope. You might have the ability to maintain your toehold one step onto the slope, but will the next person who joins you…or will they slide a couple more steps.

Thanks for your comments. We seem to share some of the real life concerns that dont often get divulged in the polarized setting of WB. I appreciate it.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 7, 2005 7:44 AM
Comment #84228

“I truly do think I understand, but Im surprised that you are willing to admit that you would sacrifice one person’s rights for the greater good.”

Believe me, I don’t feel great about stuffing Miers into a pigeon-hole based on her evangelical beliefs, but I’m afraid in this case, I can’t help but do so. I truly wonder how she’ll be able to render fair decisions without constantly dragging her religious views into them, due to the fact that she doesn’t have any background whatsoever in Constitutional Law (despite being a very successful lawyer). In fact, had she possessed that qualification, I’d have never even mentioned her religious faith, because then I’d be certain that she had a complete understanding of the weight her potential decisions will carry.

“I was thinking that you held each person’s rights in such high esteem that you wouldnt do that. its the beginning of a long and very slippery slope.”

Like I said, I’m on that slope only because her potential decisions might be a short cliff that she’ll have the power to force the entire country off of with her. She’s replacing O’Connor - the thoughtful and moderate swing voter on that court - this is why I’m in the uncomfortable position of standing on that slope.

“I find Robertson a bit wacky, but Dobson is a very very good man. I know he seems overarching to you,”

All of these Powerful Evangelical Christian Political Action leaders strike me as overarching, Joe. And I question their motives as being more about Power and Control of peoples actions, rather than Faith in God and saving peoples souls. Indeed in doing what they do they deny the words of Jesus, who told his followers to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”. The way I see it, those guys are not followers of Jesus’ philosophy at all.

“You might come to see him somewhat in the manner you have come to see me—-“Well, he’s a Christian so he’s crazy, but….he’s not TOTALLY crazy…”

Wow. I can see you’ve really got the wrong view of me! I don’t think people are crazy for being Christians. I was raised to be a Christian. Many of my family members and friends are Christians!
Believe me, I’m no angry atheist who goes around trying to stamp out faith. I’m an agnostic who has read the bible several times, and who has read plenty on the religious philosophy of many faiths - and found plenty of wisdom within all of them. The fact that I suspend judgement on the existence of God is a personal one. It has not made me view those who do have faith in God’s existence in a negative way, and it has not made me an immoral person. As I told you earlier, the only hostility I hold for religion institutions is when they seek to enter government and impose control upon everyone.

“But…and this is the crux for me, the country voted Bush into office which gives him the right to make this choice, for good or bad. In voting him in, the country knew he would likely be appointing at least one SCOTUS nominee, if not more. And so we live with it.”

Well, as you know, I haven’t thought much of Bush’s choices and decisions, and I feel he has been leading the country in a very wrong, very bad direction. Just because someone is the president doesn’t mean they have the right to shred the Constitution, or position people on the court to do that for him. This is supposed to be a country by and for the people, therefore, I feel we all have the right to question such an important appointment to the court - and let our Senators know all about our thoughts on the subject.

“Thanks for your comments. We seem to share some of the real life concerns that dont often get divulged in the polarized setting of WB. I appreciate it.”

Same here Joe, and thanks for a great conversation! :^)

Posted by: Adrienne at October 7, 2005 12:09 PM
Comment #84264

Thanks to you too Adrienne. My final comment is simply that its perfectly fine for the Senate Committee to thoroughly question Miers—thats their elected job, just as its Bush’s elected job to appoint SCOTUS nominees. Her thin resume begs this questioning, but it seemed as if you’d already decided in advance of the questioning that she is not capable. As for me, I’ll wait until I know something to make an informed decision about her.

Posted by: jeobagodonuts at October 7, 2005 3:25 PM
Comment #84397

Joe,

“My final comment is simply that its perfectly fine for the Senate Committee to thoroughly question Miers—thats their elected job, just as its Bush’s elected job to appoint SCOTUS nominees.”

Please let me fine tune that comment.

It is Bush’s elected to put forth “qualified” SCOTUS nominees.

Whether or not she is qualified will be the fight to come.

There has been all this baloney about past nominations. WHO CARES?

This country is no longer 13 colonies, we are now in the 21st century. It’s time to wake up and smell the pavement folks.

Let’s expect at least the quality of public servants as we would expect for our own employees.

And no, I am not talking about your brother-in-law.

Posted by: Rocky at October 7, 2005 9:52 PM
Comment #84398

Joe,

“My final comment is simply that its perfectly fine for the Senate Committee to thoroughly question Miers—thats their elected job, just as its Bush’s elected job to appoint SCOTUS nominees.”

Please let me fine tune that comment.

It is Bush’s elected to put forth “qualified” SCOTUS nominees.

Whether or not she is qualified will be the fight to come.

There has been all this baloney about past nominations. WHO CARES?

This country is no longer 13 colonies, we are now in the 21st century. It’s time to wake up and smell the pavement folks.

Let’s expect at least the quality of public servants as we would expect of our own employees.

And no, I am not talking about your brother-in-law.

Posted by: Rocky at October 7, 2005 9:56 PM
Comment #84399

Sorry about the double post, I got an error 500 message when I hit post the first time.

Posted by: Rocky at October 7, 2005 9:57 PM
Comment #84637

Rocky:

What you said all depends on the definition of “qualified”. Is Janice Rogers Brown qualified?? Some would say yes, while others would say no. With John Roberts, some voted to say that he is qualified to be in the position, while some voted to say that he is NOT qualified to be Chief Justice.

Bottom line is that the president is tasked with making an appointment. It is the Senate’s job to decide whether to confirm the appointment.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 10, 2005 10:17 AM
Comment #84645

Joe,

Is there any doubt that Harriet Miers doesn’t have the resume nescessary to be deemed “qualified”? What has she actually done?
Roberts had at least argued before the SCOTUS. He seems to be a very bright man that has a body of work that can be judged to be deemed qualified or not, as has Brown. Miers has not.

Is this really the best and brightest candidate for the job?

Before you say that there have been “unqualified” cronies appointed before, please realize the grave situation this country is in. Just because mistakes have been made in the past doesn’t mean that we should accept them now.
Do we really need another political hack appointed to a lifetime position in this country?

I say no, thus the reason I ask for a “qualified” candidate.

I submit that Bush floated this lady to avoid a food fight in Congress, and because he may well have another more qualified but even less acceptable candidate waiting in the wings.

Posted by: Rocky at October 10, 2005 11:21 AM
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