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October 05, 2005

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Mark Windsor

Says a lot about Dallas when a Catholic wants a deeper faith than Catholicism.

Maureen

Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian... sheesh, she really did move around when she was younger. I'd say it's a really good sign that she's found one church and clung to it like this.

Ronny

The Washington Post by way of MSNBC.com has a story ostensibly about her faith background that is really about trying to figure out where she stands on abortion.

Church ties could shed light on Miers’ thinking

TheLeague

The elitism dripping from the fangs of some conservatives is just disgusting. The Cornerites don't like her because she hasn't written law review articles, and others don't like her because she went to a law school that isn't elitist enough for their tastes. Hypocrites, all. I'm stunned.

Her biography reads like someone who has worked for a living, and has led a thoughtful and accomplished life, even if she is a lawyer. After some of the rulings that have come out of the Supreme Court, it could use a few.

George Will is just upset that she doesn't lunch at La Chaumiere like he does.

Kevin

Pure and simple - the woman is not qualified to sit on SCOTUS.

Pierre Angulaire

Bush yesterday admitted that he did not ask Miers about her views on abortion, since he doesn't have a litmus test for Surpeme Court justices. Most Senate Republicans apparently do not either.

How many bumper stickers have I seen in my parish's parking lot extolling Bush-Cheney as "pro-life"?

Come next election time, maybe Catholics should impose their own litmus test on the Republicans.

alkali

[From yesterday's press conference:]

Q: Well, the second part of my question is, if there's no litmus test, regardless of who serves on the Supreme Court, would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I'm not going to interject that kind of issue in the midst of these hearings. Harriet Miers will stand on her own. I made my position very clear in the course of my campaigns, my position, and I'm a pro-life President. Harriet Miers is going to go up to the Senate, and they're going to look at her and determine whether or not she's got the temperament, the intelligence, and the philosophy to be an excellent Supreme Court judge. And she will be. She will be.

TSO

Apparently the only litmus test for nominees is that they can't be openly pro-life.

Pro-lifers in the Republican party have to avoid becoming what blacks are to the Democrats - i.e. taken for granted. The nomination gives little assurance.

WRY

I'd rather win with a stealth pro-life nominee than lose with an openly pro-life one.

Actually, I think the fact that she has never served as a judge makes her LESS likely to abide by stare decisis. That's a potential point in her favor.

Local Man

She believes President Bush is the most brilliant man she's ever met. I'm sure she's told him that many times over the last decade or so.

http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-oppin044453943oct04,0,2335099.column?coll=ny-viewpoints-headlines

Loudon is a Fool

Does Will really believe that "Constitutional reasoning" "is a talent -- a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest"? (And which is it, a talent or skill?)

Were this the case then Will should not have reliable opinions on campaign finance reform, unless a super-extra intense interest can overcome the failure to have ever practiced "Constitutional reasoning," other than of the armchair variety. According to Will, only men who have spent long years on a circuit court are eligible to sit among the 9 sacred geezers. Certain law school professors may show an intense interest in Constitutional issues, but they're not practicing "Constitutional reasoning" in the capacity of a judge. If anything, they've simply spent long years developing novel arguments to insert their policy preferences into the Constitution under the guise of "Constitutional reasoning."

Who knows if Miers will be a rock-ribbed traditionalist who will cut through the positivist hubris of our current crop of experts in "Constitutional reasoning"? She probably won't. But given the positivism of the American legal establishment (both right and left) I'd personally prefer a southern lady with a well-formed conscience over an establishment jurisprudent.

Paul

As a Catholic, I don't see converting to Evangelical Protestantism from non-observant Catholicism to be a qualification to be appointed to the Supreme Court. I've discussed this at length on my own blog, but it doesn't seem that Ms. Miers gave Catholicism a hearing, she just went where he boyfriend was the piano-player.

Given the logical errors that Evangelicalism is prone to, this doesn't augur well, in my mind, for her to be a sharp Justice.

catholic

"The elitism dripping from the fangs of some conservatives is just disgusting. The Cornerites don't like her because she hasn't written law review articles, and others don't like her because she went to a law school that isn't elitist enough for their tastes. Hypocrites, all. I'm stunned."

This has nothing to do with elitism. It has to do with finding some way in which Miers is qualified for the job. The two things you mention go to experience and backgound.

Put it this way, if you needed brain surgery, would you choose a surgeon who studied podiatry at a carribean medical school? Would you be elitist if you insisted there were some indication the surgeon were qualified? Would it make you a hypocrit to insist the surgeon have graduated from a top medical school and have demonstrated excellence in the medical field?

Joe Magarac

TheLeague and Loudon:

It isn't elitist or exclusionary to want Supreme Court Justices to be: a) wicked smart (which doesn't mean an Ivy League degree, but does mean a degree earned with high honors at a better-than-average school); and b) experience in constitutional appellate litigation. Miers is doubtless a fine lawyer, but she meets neither of these criteria, so some folks oppose her nomination. I think I'm a fine lawyer, but I don't fit both criteria either, which is why I don't think I'm Supreme Court material my own self.

Of course I am able to read the Court's decisions and to say what I might have done differently had I been on the Court. We can all of us do that. But it is very tempting for any Justice, and especially tempting for Justices without much background in constitional law beyond an intro course in law school, to decide cases according to the outcomes the Justice wants them to have. That's how we got Roe v. Wade and other decisions. Much better to have someone with experience, who knows these temptations and has shown an ability to resist them, on the Court.

Dan

:: they would often put their feet up and trade Big Questions::

An image of James Spader and William Shatner, smoking cigars on the balcony in overstuffed chairspops to mind...

El Chupanibre

The Cornerites don't like her because she hasn't written law review articles, and others don't like her because she went to a law school that isn't elitist enough for their tastes. Hypocrites, all. I'm stunned.

You know, it was Bill Buckley himself who famously said that he'd rather be governed by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than the pointy head professors at Harvard. Like him, I'll take a common sense, average nobody over a know-it-all elite anyday.

Jimmy Mac

" She believes President Bush is the most brilliant man she's ever met. "

" .. this doesn't augur well, in my mind, for her to be a sharp Justice."


We are INDEED doomed!

El Chupanibre

This has nothing to do with elitism. It has to do with finding some way in which Miers is qualified for the job. The two things you mention go to experience and backgound.

Put it this way, if you needed brain surgery, would you choose a surgeon who studied podiatry at a carribean medical school? Would you be elitist if you insisted there were some indication the surgeon were qualified? Would it make you a hypocrit to insist the surgeon have graduated from a top medical school and have demonstrated excellence in the medical field?

You know, I wonder who would make a better apostle for Jesus? Who would we choose if it was up to us? The highly educated scholar with some ties to the elites, or some slow and occasionally dense fisherman?

The elites usually make a mess of things, as they have with the U.S. Constitution and law in general. We really do not need any more of them.

As for Miers being reported as once being a Catholic -- I'm rather confused because I've also read that her family is Episcopalian and now I read about Presbyterianism. I'm not so sure that anyone can say that she was ever Catholic.

Loudon is a Fool

"But it is very tempting for any Justice, and especially tempting for Justices without much background in constitional law beyond an intro course in law school, to decide cases according to the outcomes the Justice wants them to have. That's how we got Roe v. Wade and other decisions. Much better to have someone with experience, who knows these temptations and has shown an ability to resist them, on the Court. "

Two points. First, as the history of the court shows (and as Scalia has acknowledged, albeit perhaps in jest), a Ivy League law degree and a long stint on a circuit court or in a law school does not innoculate a justice against outcome-based decisions. It merely teaches a justice to lie more convincingly.

Second, the "advantage" gained by developing the skill of "Constitutional reasoning" that the good liars have over the bad liars is a faith in (or at least lip service to) positivism. Which is neither an advantage nor an example of skillful reasoning.

I would take a handful of writers from the New Oxford Review on the highest court over the most learned experts in American Constitutional law our Ivy Leagues have to offer any day.

Dan

I'm going out on a major limb here, but here's my prediction: Miers will not be confirmed. It appears more likely than not that she is pro-life and very conservative on social issues; this will trigger a fillibuster (Chuck Shumer and his supporters are just not going to like the idea of a member of the Dallas Valley View Christian Church controlling the outcome of the next attack on Roe). The Republicans are so luke warm about her that they won't bother to try to break the fillibuster but will instead welcome the chance to try again.

kat

As a wife of a sporadic New Oxford Review writer, thanks!
I agree with Dan that she will likely not be confirmed. The conservatives are in a tizzy because there were numerous highly qualified people for this spot who were overlooked for someone who is not qualified and was only picked because she was the President's lawyer. The liberals don't like the lack of documents (none), not to mention that she is religious and nominated by a Republican.

The only people who are happy about this are the evangelicals and I doubt they can carry the day. With only 11% thinking this is an excellent nominee, we will likely see everyone waiting for the hearings and then calling their Senators to say, "We'll pass on this one".

Plato's Stepchild

"Second, the "advantage" gained by developing the skill of "Constitutional reasoning" that the good liars have over the bad liars is a faith in (or at least lip service to) positivism. Which is neither an advantage nor an example of skillful reasoning."

I'll have to mention that to Robert P. George if I'm ever invited to Princeton University.

Plato's Stepchild

"You know, it was Bill Buckley himself who famously said that he'd rather be governed by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than the pointy head professors at Harvard. Like him, I'll take a common sense, average nobody over a know-it-all elite anyday."

Buckley went to Yale. The philistinism here is touching. I assume that you will want a Catholic priest presiding at your Mass who never went to seminary as well as a neurosurgeon educated at MIT (Matchbox Institute of Technology).

My Cousin Vinny would make a fine Supreme Court Justice.

Sven

The whole thing reminds me of Mrs. Gus Grissom in 'The Right Stuff': "I wanted to go to the White House and talk to Jackie about...stuff.", she said as she sat in a two-bit motel and waited to see a marching band on a military base instead of a ticker-tape parade.

We shoulda had a contender, instead of a bum...which is what this is.

Loudon is a Fool

If the effectiveness of the lie corresponds with its nobility would Robert George object? Would Plato's Stepchild?

El Chupanibre

I assume that you will want a Catholic priest presiding at your Mass who never went to seminary

A priest is a priest is a priest -- he is in persona Christi no matter where he was educated.

chris K

Her friend, Hecht, oft quoted about her qualities, also states that she has said she believes that life begins at conception and that after she decided that, she knew that there were two lives at stake, of equal value. And, with all of her firsts, including running a business, with the backing of those elitists as more than qualified....top 100 most influential attorneys, etc., she perhaps may even be more qualified for the top court than some others already there since she has more real world experience. The liberal feminists have nothing on their side to hold against her as far as qualifying as one woman who has more than paid her dues. The same admiration given to Roberts for being the most prepared, calm, cool, and a superb attorney - over and above his being a judge - can be said about this pick as well...with as much known openly about personal feelings as he. I understand that he was giving a more difficult time today to those arguing for Oregon than to the Feds. Yes, Mr. Bush has done his best to fulfill his promise of appointing those who don't legislate from the bench. I don't fault him. His strategy is to get the appointment done with a conservative...not spend useless time having some go through a hopeless process.

revert2saved

The whole foundation of our legal system rests on trial by jury, the idea that 12 ordinary citizens selected at random are qualified to interpret and apply our laws to specific cases. While I do expect a judge to be a bit better qualified than the average juror, I don't see that you need much more than a law degree, a few years of practice, and good sound common sense. Abe Lincoln for instance would have made a fine Justice.

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