"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

. . . Still Not Bothered

I find the anger of the Republican rank and file toward President Bush for the Miers nomination quite interesting, and I greatly respect the opinions of my fellow members of the Reform Club. I have been quite critical of President Bush on this site, from the right of course, especially as regards his economic policies. I think that I have been the most critical of the Reform Clubbers by far, toward this president. Perhaps this is why I have not reacted with such horror at the Miers nomination: My expectations of this president have evidently been not nearly as high, and hence my disappointment is minimal. To me, the nomination remains a practical question: Will Miers make a strict-constructionist majority on the Court? And to me the answer is yes.


mdvoutlook.com said...

Come on, where's the love. I think if all we conservatives have a big group hug and drink some hot chocolate we'll all feel better. And one day we'll get some fire breathing, powerfully orating proud originalist with a long paper trail nominated to the court and we'll all be able to sing kumbaya. Until them I'm with Sam.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

I've held out of the Miers discussion until now. It appears to me that most in the anti-Miers crowd are upset for political reasons, not because of how she might vote.

They are upset because of what the nomination looks like, as opposed to the nomination itself.

I will wait until I see how she does in confirmation. Until then, I'll have to be a bit pragmatic about it and side with "Karnick the Magnificent."

Tlaloc said...

"It appears to me that most in the anti-Miers crowd are upset for political reasons, not because of how she might vote."

Jonah Goldberg had this to say about the "reliable vote" argument in the corner:

"The more I think about it, the more I think there's something inherently corrupt about the "she's a reliable vote" argument. I'm not singling any reader, blogger or activist out because this argument tends to reside amidst a lot of other arguments and other rhetoric. At its core, the "reliable vote" argument suggests that that's all that matters -- a conservative vote. Without casting aspersions on others, that's not good enough for me (and it may be grotesquely unfair to Miers). If all that's required is a reliable vote, National Review and the Heritage Foundation have plenty of interns who will do just fine. As George Will writes this morning, Bush's pick of Miers smacks of identity politics (a point several of us have made around here) and how it suggests that Bush sees the Court as a representative body. The reliable vote argument is imbedded in this view of the court. It says that arguments and due dilligence don't matter. What matters is that "our side" gets its voice on the Court, period.

This sounds to me a bit like the "results-oriented conservatism" some on the web are touting in Miers' defense. Who needs all that pointy-headed intellectual stuff if at the end of the day she votes the same way? (I assume some of these people defended Clarence Thomas against the charge that he's Scalia's sidekick. But why bother if the vote is all that matters?) Conservatives, I thought, were supposed to believe ideas have consequences, that American institutions -- chief among them the Supreme Court and the Constitution -- have specific and organic roles to play in the culture which depend on intellectual honesty, opposition to cant, and a dispassionate rejection of the politicization of the law. The reliable vote argument -- absent other rationales -- runs counter to all of these. This becomes obvious when you imagine a Democratic President appointing a confidante with few obvious credentials for the Supreme Court. A president Kerry could hardly convince any of us that his pick should be confirmed because she's a reliable vote.

This is not to say I am against reliable votes on the court, but the reason why they are reliable is to me vitally important. Scalia and Thomas are fairly reliable votes because they have a grounding in philosophy and an intellectual consistency that even their greatest critics respect (at least in the case of Scalia; Thomas still gets unfair treatment). Miers may have these qualities too. There's simply little to no evidence that she does at this point. I for one hope she reveals herself as a grander intellect than her detracters claim she is. I hope she reveals herself to be more than a reliable vote."

something to think about

Greg said...


Well said. =)

Jay D. Homnick said...

I'm with Tlaloc and Goldberg against the "reliable vote" argument.

But isn't the head of the Texas Bar Association a sign of significant achievement in law? Does it only count if you show up in Washington and argue before the Supremes?

Hunter Baker said...

I'm also against the reliable vote. Goldberg is right. I almost posted his remarks yesterday. As I've said before, there is a way to deal with lifetime appointments to the top court and this is NOT it.

Kathy Hutchins said...

But isn't the head of the Texas Bar Association a sign of significant achievement in law?

No. It's a sign of significant achievement in a particular brand of low-level political gladhanding and bureaucratic fiefdom construction. Her work with the TBA is a negative, in my book. A lawyer with the kind of intellectual rigor and curiosity I want to see on the bench would have viewed it as a colossal waste of time.