Hugh still doesn't get itI listened to part of Hugh's show yesterday and checked his blog this morning. He is missing the point that most of us are trying to make that are offended by the SCOTUS nomination of Ms. Miers. He points to Beldar's post on it who spends most of his post arguing that others are being stuck up because she is a practicing lawyer and not someone who wrote law review articles and appeared before the SCOTUS. He doesn't get it either. I think picking someone that is exceptional but spent his/her time doing "common" law and not high level "appellate" law would be fine. I would imagine that many/most of the conservative lawyers and law professors who oppose her on SCOTUS would too.
A quote from Beldar:
Moreover, the classic meaning of "cronyism" is selecting someone for a position that they're incapable of earning and totally unfit for on their own. If all Harriet Miers had to commend her, as Prof. Barnett claims, is that she's been George W. Bush's lawyer, and if we could find no reason in her record, other than Dubya's friendship, even for her to have held that position, then a charge of "cronyism" might be appropriate.
The classic, and as far as I know, only technical meaning of "crony" is an old and tight friend. The classic application of the term is an old friend who got their job because of that friendship, and only because of it. It does not, as Beldar claims, necessarily mean that they are totally unfit for the job. I am not claiming that. Others are questioning it but it is usually not their main point. What "crony" does mean is that without the friendship in question someone who is more qualified for the job would have gotten it. That is certainly the case with Ms. Meirs nomination. Ergo, it is a crony appointment. Period.
I cannot speak for others but when I have said she is unqualified I do not mean incapable or unfit. I simply mean unqualified. What are the qualifications for SCOTUS? There is many points of view on this. Mine are as follows.
- The nominee should be well versed in the law. Pass.
- The nominee should be in the mainstream (the real one, not the made up one from the wacko lefties). Pass.
- The nominee should be committed to the proper place of the judiciary in our system of government (no legislating from the bench). We think she passes.
- This nominee (because of the promises to the base) should be a strict constructionist. We have no clue but she and the President claim so.
- The nominee should be an exceptional talent that stands out among their peers. FAIL.
Again, there are only 9 of these people. Good enough simply isn't good enough.
The problem I, and others, have is not that we question that she is capable. I assume she is. President Bush is not the smartest guy in America but he is not so dumb as to be President and hire a personal counsel that is not highly capable. The problem is that there are so many who are so obviously much more capable.
From John at Powerline:
Republican Presidents should be known for putting the most highly qualified, brilliant legal thinkers on the federal appellate courts, especially the Supreme Court. If the Democrats want to nominate hacks, that's fine. But the Republicans have a stable of potential nominees who are leaders in the profession and are top-notch thinkers in the tradition of Scalia and Thomas. John Roberts was one, and he is typical of the kind of nominee that the public should expect from Republican Presidents. There were plenty more where Roberts came from. President Bush missed an opportunity to drive home with the public the fact that the most brilliant and most principled thinkers in the legal profession are conservatives, not liberals.
Amen! Aside from her work for the President, which we will likely get to know little about, the woman does not stand out from hundreds if not thousands of other practicing attorneys. That makes it a crony appointment and we should and do expect more.