Thursday, October 13, 2005

I figure I should say something about Harriet Miers

Laura Ingraham has been going on and on about Harriet Miers not being the type of justice that she would have selected. LI wants some towering judicial intellect who will reshape the court in the manner of Scalia and Thomas. She complains that people have worked for 40 years to return the court to the moorings of the Constitution and that the Miers pick is a betrayal. National Review is saying similar things.

I don’t know Harriet Miers, and I had not heard of her before the President picked her as his nominee. But I do know some things.

1) The president said he would pick Justices in the mold of Thomas and Scalia.

2) The President has known this woman for 20 years and is convinced of her bona fides.

3) If she does something egregious in the first year, the backlash against Republicans would be so great, they would lose control of the House and Senate. The President and Ms Miers know this.

4) The President and Ms Miers will continue to be friends, even after she is on the Court. Those informal dinners they will share, even after he is out of office, will have the effect of keeping her on the reservation so that she does not turn into another Souter in sheep’s clothing.

5) The President’s litmus test is different from his supporters. The President cares about abortion, but his overriding concern is fighting this war. He has worked side by side with Miers for 5 years attempting to prevent terrorist attacks and trying to keep terrorist confined. He KNOWS how she will vote on things like keeping Padilla in custody or on the legitimacy of Guantanamo. THOSE are the things the President cares about, and he knows she will be a reliable ally.

6) And most importantly: The president knows she will be a reliable vote in the direction he cares about without necessarily attempting to write separate concurrences of which O’Conner was so proud. Those concurrences were little better that mischief-making because they allowed plaintiffs to use O’Conner’s “balances” or “tests” to challenge and weaken what would otherwise be victories. I (and I think the President) envision Miers as a lineman on a football team, someone vital to victory yet who will not be a star. She will be steady, reliable, and will provide the margin of victory while Scalia, Thomas and Roberts carry the ball.