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Posted: 10/7/2005 10:32:07 AM EDT

Withdraw This Nominee

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, October 7, 2005; A23

When in 1962 Edward Moore Kennedy ran for his brother's seat in the Senate, his opponent famously said that if Kennedy's name had been Edward Moore, his candidacy would have been a joke. If Harriet Miers were not a crony of the president of the United States, her nomination to the Supreme Court would be a joke, as it would have occurred to no one else to nominate her.

We've had quite enough dynastic politics over the past decades. (Considering the trouble I have had with Benjamin and William Henry Harrison, I pity the schoolchildren of the future who will have to remember who was who in the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton presidential alternations from 1989 to 2017.) But nominating a constitutional tabula rasa to sit on what is America's constitutional court is an exercise of regal authority with the arbitrariness of a king giving his favorite general a particularly plush dukedom. The only advance we've made since then is that Supreme Court dukedoms are not hereditary.

It is particularly dismaying that this act should have been perpetrated by the conservative party. For half a century, liberals have corrupted the courts by turning them into an instrument of radical social change on questions -- school prayer, abortion, busing, the death penalty -- that properly belong to the elected branches of government. Conservatives have opposed this arrogation of the legislative role and called for restoration of the purely interpretive role of the court. To nominate someone whose adult life reveals no record of even participation in debates about constitutional interpretation is an insult to the institution and to that vision of the institution.

There are 1,084,504 lawyers in the United States. What distinguishes Harriet Miers from any of them, other than her connection with the president? To have selected her, when conservative jurisprudence has J. Harvie Wilkinson, Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell and at least a dozen others on a bench deeper than that of the New York Yankees, is scandalous.

It will be argued that this criticism is elitist. But this is not about the Ivy League. The issue is not the venue of Miers's constitutional scholarship, experience and engagement. The issue is their nonexistence.

Moreover, the Supreme Court is an elite institution. It is not one of the "popular" branches of government. That is the reason Sen. Roman Hruska achieved such unsought immortality when he declared, in support of an undistinguished Nixon nominee to the court, that, yes, G. Harrold Carswell is a mediocrity but mediocre Americans deserve representation on the court as well.

To serve in Congress, or even as president, there is no requirement for scholarship and brilliance. For good reason. It is not needed. It can even be a hindrance, as we learned from our experience with Woodrow Wilson, the most intellectually accomplished president of the 20th century and also the worst.

But constitutional jurisprudence is different. It is, by definition, an exercise of intellect steeped in scholarship. Otherwise it is nothing but raw politics. And is it not the conservative complaint that liberals have abused the courts by having them exercise raw super-legislative power, the most egregious example of which is the court's most intellectually bankrupt ruling, Roe v. Wade ?

Miers will surely shine in her Judiciary Committee hearings, but that is because expectations have been set so low. If she can give a fairly good facsimile of John Roberts's testimony, she'll be considered a surprisingly good witness. But what does she bring to the bench?

This, say her advocates: We are now at war, and therefore the great issue of our time is the powers of the president, under Article II, to wage war. For four years Miers has been immersed in war-and-peace decisions and therefore will have a deep familiarity with the tough constitutional issues regarding detention, prisoner treatment and war powers.

Perhaps. We have no idea what her role in these decisions was. But to the extent that there was any role, it becomes a liability. For years -- crucial years in the war on terrorism -- she will have to recuse herself from judging the constitutionality of these decisions because she will have been a party to having made them in the first place. The Supreme Court will be left with an absent chair on precisely the laws-of-war issues to which she is supposed to bring so much.

By choosing a nominee suggested by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and well known only to himself, the president has ducked a fight on the most important domestic question dividing liberals from conservatives: the principles by which one should read and interpret the Constitution. For a presidency marked by a courageous willingness to think and do big things, this nomination is a sorry retreat into smallness.

Link Posted: 10/7/2005 10:43:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 10:45:10 AM EDT
The President is alienating a lot of conservative heavyweights.

It's impossible to believe that Miers, nice as she may be, is the best person for the job.
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 10:49:21 AM EDT
I'll be surprised if he withdraws the nomination.

I would NOT be surprised if she decides not to go through the Senate hearings.

Should that happen, or should the Senate decline to approve her, I have three words:

Janice Rogers Brown.
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 11:15:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KBaker:
I'll be surprised if he withdraws the nomination.

Me too ...

W sounds confident.

Bush: Miers Will Be Confirmed to Top Court
Oct 07 12:49 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


President Bush predicted Friday that Harriet Miers will be confirmed to the Supreme Court despite grumbling from conservatives that has led a few to call for the president to withdraw her nomination.

Asked he if would rule out ever seeing Miers' name withdrawn, Bush did not answer directly _ substituting instead words of confidence about her confirmation process. "She is going to be on the bench," he said. "She'll be confirmed."

Miers and her supporters are working the phones and knocking on doors to rally conservatives who argue that Bush has reneged on his promise to name justices with proven records as strong conservative.

She met Friday with Sen. Conrad Burns, who called her an "outstanding woman" when Bush first revealed her as his pick. "Ms. Miers has a great sense of humor and a great understanding of the importance of the legal arena in our nation," the Montana Republican said after meeting her.

Because the 60-year-old Miers spent her career in private practice and as a member of Bush's White House staff, conservatives outside the nation's capital have little to hang their hopes on except the president's word that she would be a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas.

"She's got to convince the conservative world that she understands the word 'strict constructionist,'" said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of three Judiciary Committee conservatives who met Thursday with Miers. "She's going to have to fill in those blanks and create a comfort level."

Bush defended his White House counsel as "an extraordinary nominee" and a "very bright woman."

"I'm confident she's going to be a Supreme Court judge who will not legislate from the bench and will strictly interpret the Constitution," the president said after a meeting in the Oval Office with the prime minister of Hungary. "When she's on the bench, people will see a fantastic woman who is honest, open, humble, and capable of being a great Supreme Court judge."

Among those calling on Bush to nominate someone other than Miers to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, which has promised an active campaign to persuade the president.

Later, Bush asked if he been sufficiently clear in his answer. When told he could have made a direct statement, he responded by again merely predicting her confirmation.

On Thursday, Miers worked conservatives inside the Capitol while her White House supporters worked the telephones to reassure grassroots conservatives that she won't become a liberal or a moderate if confirmed by the Senate.

Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, and other conservative leaders held a national teleconference Thursday with conservatives, trying to reassure listeners that Miers is the right person to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate whose vote has been critical on issues including abortion and affirmative action.

Miers also picked up an endorsement from first lady Laura Bush. "I think she'll be really terrific," she said.

But the White House hasn't convinced everyone.

"I think the president has created political trouble for himself by appointing a cypher after promising something else," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. "She may turn out to be a great judge. I'm sure she's going to get confirmed because Democrats seem to like her, but my own reaction to it is that it is not my fight, and I think that's the way that most conservatives feel about it."

Conservatives would have preferred a justice with proven conservative credentials, said GOP Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Senate Judiciary Committee member and possible 2008 presidential contender. "We're left gathering shreds of evidence in trying to determine how the candidate would vote on the key issues of the day," Brownback said after sitting down with Miers.

In an AP-Ipsos poll taken this week, two-thirds of those surveyed did not know enough about Miers to have an opinion about her. Just 41 percent said the Senate should confirm her, lower than similar ratings for Chief Justice John Roberts after his nomination in July; 27 percent said she should not be confirmed; 32 percent were not sure.

Miers is getting support from some prominent conservatives. Former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., who was ambassador to Germany, will serve as Miers' escort through the confirmation process. Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., did the same for Roberts this summer.

As a senator, Coats pushed legislation to restrict abortion, tried to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts because of grants it made to artists he said mocked God, and led the opposition to allowing gays in the military.

An internal battle over the nomination may hurt the GOP in next year's congressional elections, said Manuel Miranda, who used to work on judicial nominations for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Miranda now runs the conservative Third Branch Conference.

Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:04:22 PM EDT

Miers also picked up an endorsement from first lady Laura Bush. "I think she'll be really terrific," she said.

We'll that's just..... just..... really super to know!!!!!
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:08:48 PM EDT
Is Krauthammer a lib??
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:30:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
Is Krauthammer a lib??


Charles Krauthammer, M.D. (born March 13, 1950 in New York) is a syndicated columnist who appears in the Washington Post and other publications. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. He frequently supports neoconservative positions in political issues.

Krauthammer obtained a first-class honors degree in political science and economics from McGill University in 1970, and was a Commonwealth Scholar in politics at Balliol College, Oxford 1970-71. In his freshman year at Harvard medical school in 1972, he was paralyzed in a serious diving accident which permanently confined him to a wheelchair [1]. Continuing medical training during his rehabilitation, he earned an M.D. from Harvard University's medical school in 1975, and worked as a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital for several years. Krauthammer also engaged in research; for example, he and his colleague Klerman described the secondary mania as a syndrome with multiple causes.

In 1978, Krauthammer quit medical practice to direct planning in psychiatric research for the Jimmy Carter administration, and began contributing to the magazine, The New Republic. During the presidential campaign of 1980, he served as a speech writer to Vice President Walter Mondale. He also writes essays for TIME and the Weekly Standard and is a regular member of "The Panel" on Fox News's evening broadcast with Brit Hume and appears as a Fox News Contributor often.

Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:32:08 PM EDT
Isn't this basically what AC said in her Thursday column?  Interesting.

AC's column

Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:35:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
Is Krauthammer a lib??

He's fairly conservative, but he supports total gun control.
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:37:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
Is Krauthammer a lib??

No.  Watch him on Fox News, he is usually on the panel at the end of Brit Humes show.  Very sharp minded, I think he needs his own show on Fox.  He's one of my favorite commentators on Fox.
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:37:24 PM EDT
I agree with Krauthammer.  The president dropped the ball here, I don't care if I get flamed or not, he did not put forth a conservative, constructionist, intellectual heavyweight here, which is what we need to turn back the influence of Brier, Souter, Ginsberg, etc.  They will have Miers for breakfast, or turn her.  We needed a Scalia-type who could help turn the activist court back in the right direction, and instead we got a seat warmer at best, and someone like O'Connor, who ended up turning leftist and looking to foreign law for inspiration, at worst.
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:40:32 PM EDT
W better get with the fucking program soon or he's gonna get his ass handed to him in the senate confirmations, it may be the republicans that end up fillibustering miers.
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:45:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Coop_K:

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
Is Krauthammer a lib??

He's fairly conservative, but he supports total gun control.

I had know idea on this so I googled it and came up with this,

"Ultimately, a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquility of the kind enjoyed by sister democracies such as Canada and Britain. Given the frontier history and individualist ideology of the United States, however, this will not come easily. It certainly cannot be done radically. It will probably take one, maybe two generations. It might be 50 years before the United States gets to where Britain is today. Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic - purely symbolic - move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation. " - Charles Krauthammer,The Washington Post, Friday, April 5, 1996, page A19 op-ed piece entitled "Disarm The Citizenry"

I wonder if ten years later he has changed his mind.  This really blows as he is right on so many other issues.  Fuck him, Miers is pro 2nd.
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 1:53:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2005 1:57:17 PM EDT by bulldog1967]

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
Is Krauthammer a lib??

Not hardly.

He often sits in on the 6:30pm roundtable with Britt Hume on Fox News.

He skewers libs all the time. I love how he makes the goon from NPR squirm in her chair!

ETA: Pro 2nd amendment or not, he is SPOT ON on this one.

"A member of the Project for the New American Century, Krauthammer defends unilateralism and maintains that as a superpower, the U.S. should assert its positions and invite others to join. Krauthammer believes that "the notion that legitimacy derives from international consensus" is a political absurdity in what he calls the "unipolar world" dominated by US foreign policy."
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 8:40:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/8/2005 8:48:33 AM EDT by LeonardC]
While chopping firewood yesterday I came up with a different senerio.  Let's say President Bush talked to Roberts.  

"Well, John, now that you're CJ, what do you need to succeed?"

"Mr. President, I need someone behind me on the court that I can count on to support me each and every time.  I can write all the opinions, but I need a person that will vote my way ."

When you cut through all the BS, it's the votes that count.  The greatest minority statement doesn't really mean much.
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