10/04/2005: Thought for the Day (Supreme Court Twofer Editon):
Commentators on the right as well as the left—anyone, really, who thinks a Supreme Court justice should possess a record of world-class distinction—are groaning over Harriet Miers' nomination. She may turn out to have a great legal mind. She may be a thoughtful, incisive Supreme Court justice. But there's no reason to think so now. The problem isn't that Miers hasn't been a federal judge or a Supreme Court lawyer. It's that she isn't those things and she also doesn't bring with her the breadth of experience that the other justices lack. Can anyone really imagine that she'd be the nominee if she weren't a woman and the president's friend and loyal adviser? Cronyism and affirmative action: It's a nasty mix.
Loyalty is one of Bush's better traits, but today's announcement smacked more of sentimentality. He wanted to promote from within and reward a longtime supporter and loyal employee. He agreed with his wife Laura that he couldn't pick yet another white guy.
Those were both good instincts. Unfortunately, so far as we know, Joe Allbaugh didn't have any college roommates who were women. So, Bush picked Miers '67, who overlapped with Laura '68 at SMU. Even if she turns out to be qualified, the Miers nomination starts out looking like another inside deal from an administration that has made far too many.
The right wing has only itself to blame for Bush's choice. For the last six months, they have waged a bitter war against Bush's first White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, on the grounds that Gonzales was "Spanish for Souter."
Gonzales may have been a hack with suspect conservative credentials, but at least he would have been an inspiring and historic hack. Now the right is stuck with Miers, who may not even be "SMU for Gonzales."
Len on 10.04.05 @ 05:16 AM CST