The Mess with Miers: An Embattled Judicial Nomination
Will George Bush withdraw his embattled nomination of Harriet Miers to the U. S. Supreme Court? Or will Miers herself withdraw? Predicting our West Texas weather is easier than trying to predict Miers’s future, but there is an accelerating momentum in support of her withdrawal. The reasons for such a withdrawal are numerous and compelling.
REASON NUMBER ONE: MIERS’S BACKGROUND—Miers has no background qualifying her for a Justiceship. Miers:
- Spent most of her career as a corporate lawyer with strong ties to the legal community and the American Bar Association, a liberal organization;
- Chaired the Texas Lottery Commission, appointed to that position by then Gov. Bush, from 1995 until 2000;
- Has been on the personal staff of George Bush since 2000;
- Has no public service experience otherwise, except for a two-year term on the Dallas City Council 15 years ago;
- Holds undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University, long recognized as a very liberal institution of higher learning, even within the generally liberal academic community;
- Has apparently never written or spoken on constitutional issues, written constitutional briefs, argued constitutional cases before an appellate court, or even attended a continuing legal education course on constitutional law (all lawyers are required to attend continuing legal ed courses).
REASON NUMBER TWO: MIERS’S RECORD OF ACTIVITIES AND COMMENTS—Miers’s record reveals no substantial reasons why she should hold a Justiceship. Miers:
- Has been a leader in the ABA, which supports very liberal causes, including abortion, same-sex marriage, and physician-assisted suicide;
- Attempted in 1999 to persuade the ABA to support an International Criminal Court and public policy allowing for homosexual adoption of children;
- Has been an alumni leader of the SMU law school, where she helped initiate a “women’s studies lecture series.” This series has featured radical feminists including Gloria Steinem and Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder. It has not included America’s finest female Constitutionalist leaders such as Phyllis Schlafly;
- Objected to an initial draft of President Bush’s 2001 Christmas message as being “too Christian” and one that “might offend people of other faiths.” The author, aide Ned Ryun, refused to change the message; and the assignment of writing the Christmas message was transferred to another staffer.
REASON NUMBER THREE: OPPOSITION TO MIERS—Miers is opposed by a wide variety of leaders and laymen.
- Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum: “[this nomination] is a terrible disappointment and a missed opportunity;”
- Weekly Standard editor William Kristol: “I’m disappointed, depressed, and demoralized” by Bush’s nomination of Miers;
- Liberty counsel Matt Staver: “Bush has turned his finest hour into a political debacle that threatens to split his conservative base;”
- An October 12 poll released by NBC and the Wall Street Journal: While the American people still are substantially uninformed about Miers, only 29% said that she is qualified for the court;
- A number of Republican Senators have raised concerns about Miers, and some stormy meetings have been held between anti-Miers Senate staffers and Miers White House supporters.
Perhaps the anti-Miers sentiment is best summarized by UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge, who laments “I’m appalled. This appointment reeks of cronyism, which, along with prideful arrogance seems to be the besetting sin of the Bush presidency. At this point I see no reason—none, nada, zilch—for conservatives who care about the courts to lift a finger to support [Miers].
What Can We Do?
Express our views to the White House and Senate!