Making Demands

I haven’t really posted anything about the rampant “cronyism” in the Bush administration, but you should know that it nauseates me. Especially when appointments like “Brownie” to FEMA begin to actually matter, and they are then bungled, with a tremendous cost to human life. The reason I haven’t posted is because, for the most part, I have little to add to what everyone already knows. In my opinion, this pretty much debunks the argument, made in 2000, that it didn’t matter that Bush was an idiot (and still is) because he would surround himself with intelligent people. Guess not. More likely, he’ll surround himself with friends and hangers-on, appoint them to important positions even though they are grossly underqualified, and hand out unbid-for government building contracts in Iraq and the Gulf Coast like they’re candy.

All of this by way of intro, that President Bush has taken Cronyism to new heights, nominating his White House Counsel to the Supreme Court. As the AP put it, “President Bush on Monday nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, reaching into his loyal inner circle for another pick that could reshape the nation’s judiciary for years to come.”

Wonderful. Is she qualified? So far, all I know about her is that she’s never been a judge or a legislator, therefore has no voting or judicial record, and therefore has no opinions that the Democrats can exploit in attempting to block her appointment. Therefore, she’s perfectly qualified to be nominated. Whether she’s qualified to actually sit on the Supreme Court, I’m skeptical. The Buddy President may as well have nominated Mike Brown.

I just want add one more point. In reading some responses to the nomination, this one stood out at me: “We are concerned about the nomination of Harriet Miers and we demand she answer questions regarding her views of fundamental reproductive and privacy rights. We expect Miers to make clear her views on reproductive rights during the hearing process, and the Senate should not confirm a nominee who is not willing to do so.” — Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood.

I am not sure I agree. Not because the quote came from Planned Parenthood. I think I disagree with Senator Schumer’s similarly themed remarks, though they were made much more tactfully, essentially saying that the Senate knows nothing about this woman, and would really have to investigate whether she’s qualified.

What bugs me about the quote is, who the hell is this woman, president of Planned Parenthood, to be making demands? Can she rightfully demand to know these things? Does Miers’s opinion on abortion or any other issue affect her qualifications for sitting on the court? Of course not. Ask about her Curriculum Vitae. Ask about her law school experience. Ask if she’s written any articles, ever sat in judgment, ever faced oral argument in the Supreme Court. Ask a million questions about her qualifications. You might be surprised to find her very qualified. (I know I would be.) But so what if she’s a raging anti-abortion activist? Why does being anti-abortion make one unqualified to sit on the court? It doesn’t. A judicial nominee’s personal, political and idealogical beliefs do not affect their worthiness. If she’s never so much as published a Law Review Article, you could argue she’s not quite the caliber of jurist we should have on our Supreme Court. But if she’s published extensively about the fact that there exists no right to privacy in the Constitution, that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, that the Lemon test for deciding establishment clause issues is overbroad, and the government can entangle with religion, and any number of well-written, well-researched articles about hot-button issues that would make her quite unliked at Democratic Fundraising Dinners, then so what?! She’s still qualified to be a Supreme Court judge. Just because you don’t like her politics doesn’t mean she isn’t qualified. What if she says that, “there are no fundamental privacy rights, marriage and procreation among them. Therefore, Roe was wrongly decided, DOMA is fine with the constitution and I’m not going to vote to strike down any law, even if it interferes with the right to abort a pregnancy.” So what? Does that opinion make her unqualified? It may make her unpopular, but not unqualified.

So, therefore, by extension, her politics are irrelevant, and PP can stick its demands up something and into somewhere. She may prove to be qualified, and never let you know exactly what her feelings on abortion are. If that’s the case, then she should be confirmed, without so much as uttering one word about it.


2 responses to “Making Demands

  1. the biggest thing i learned in law school is that law is politics. i feel like i got an advanced degree in political science.

    how you interprete the law is very political, it’s just a series of choices.

    i never like it when people have one issue that make them vote for and against a politican. i extend this to justices/judges as well.

    (p.s. this would flow nicer if i wasn’t woken up at 4:30 by john’s snoring)

  2. drop the last “e” from “intepret”

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