Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It

I am at the 3 day annual meeting of the Lexis-Nexis - Martindale Hubbell Legal Advisory board. This is the board that Harriet Miers was on until 1999 or 2000, when she went to work full-time for Bush, who was then running for President.

There are four ex-ABA presidents on the board (three of whom are here), and one former U.S. Attorney General. Many have taught at law schools. One is a law school dean. No one on this board who worked with Harriet, including me, thinks she will quit or that Bush will withraw her nomination. About the latter, think about it: When Bush wants someone on the bench whom Congress doesn't want, what does he do? He brings them round again - like Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. Or he does a recess appointment. In other words, he is stubborn as hell. He is not going to withdraw this nomination - and Harriet is tough. She is not going to quit.

Most of those I've spoken with believe she will be okay or better as a Supreme Court Justice. While she may be more conservative than many of us, all thought she would be fair. No one can recall a single instance of her talking about abortion or Roe v. Wade. Several recalled her talking postively about the right to bear arms. Most people from Texas and the West, including me, feel that way. Besides, it doesn't reflect how she'd rule on that particular issue.

There has been a lot of praise for her pro-bono efforts while President of the Texas bar.

The main thing to keep in mind are the alternatives. From a legal standpoint, we lucked out with both Roberts and Harriet Miers. If she were to withdraw and Bush were then to repay the radical right what they think he owes them, we will be far worse off. We didn't get Wilkerson or Luttig from the 4th Circuit, Rogers Brown, Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen or Alberto Gonzales. But we may, if Harriet is not confirmed.

The carping over her not having been a judge or a constitutional law expert is blather. Any comptetent lawyer can read the briefs and law and understand the principles and follow precedent - or decide to overrule it. So is expecting Supreme Court nominees to say how they'd vote in a particular case. You shouldn't want a judge whose mind is made up in advance. Judges should be impartial and decide each case based on the facts and the relevant law. She can do that. I think most seasoned practitioners can do that.

Give Harriet a chance. Listen to what she has to say at the confirmation hearings. And then make up your mind.

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    Okay, the first thing you must do is do whatever you can to make the information available on Lexis-Nexis available to the public, free of charge.

    If I keep agreeing with you, Ms. Merritt, people will say we're in love. (Posted in lieu of a trackback, but I really did like this post.)

    Anyone who has accomplished what Ms Miers has certainly can perform the work of a Supreme Court justice. Judges tend to become quasi academics after they have been on the bench for a while. The court would benefit from the presence of an actual working lawyer. The types of matters she has handled and the outcomes of her cases are a sufficient paper trail to evaluate her legal ability. The confirmation process has been turned into a fund raising media festival by the special interests, if "snarling Arlin" does not keep his committee focused we will get a show instead of the dissertation defense we need.

    At the risk of sounding elitist, I think what many people on this thread aren't realizing is how bad a judge can be. Most have no understanding of the difference between judicial temperment of say Luttig and that of more mainline center-right judges like O'Connor and Kennedy. Put another way, it is easy to see Miers will be better than Luttig, but without understanding who Luttig is (think to the right of Ashcroft) all you are left to understand about Miers is that she is a Friend of George and no one wants another "Brownie".

    Re: Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:01 PM EST
    She says she supports gay and lesbian rights, but that she doesn't want to overturn Texas' anti-gay sodomy laws. This kind of intellectual disconnect is more than troubling. So is Bush's assertion that she's had the same values and beliefs and mind for as long as he knows her, and that in twenty years she'll be exactly the same. If she indeed doesn't change she'll have to have been preserved in amber. But I am dismayed that some folks seem to think it's this mediocre talent or some right-wing monster -- that there's nothing better. If that's true, then what's the point of listening to her at all? What's the point of these hearings?

    Re: Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It (none / 0) (#2)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:01 PM EST
    Memo to left: She should quit, let the right eat their own, but if necessary, KEEP HER OFF THE COURT!

    Re: Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It (none / 0) (#3)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:02 PM EST
    Well said. And what is the alternative? The Right is completely fractured on this. On the other side of the spectrum, the enjoyment of this spectacle has been considerable. Bush's comments that Miers would not change betrayed a lack of understanding of what people are, always growing or dying. The most annoying aspect of this episode has been the oversimplified thought the President has employed both in the choice and in his defense of it. Oy

    Re: Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:02 PM EST
    You shouldn't want a judge whose mind is made up in advance.
    this is one of the most idiotic platitudes concerning the selection of judges, at any level. we already have 7, count 'em, 7 justices who already have opined on numerous cases. are you now saying that, since they've previously expressed an opinion on an issue, they should recuse themselves from any other case that involves essentially the same issue? for that matter, nearly every judge, at the federal level, would need to recuse themselves from cases involving issues they'd previously ruled on, using that ridiculous logic. it's absurd on its face. that being the case, why is it then so unreasonable to inquire of a candidate their opinion on an issue? the answer is, it isn't. this is merely another ploy, by republicans, and sucked up by the media and, disappointingly, you. you should know better. we have every legitimate right to hear, from the candidate themself, what their feelings are on various issues. presumably, they would restrict their judicial opinions to the law, but this at least gives us a heads-up as to which way they lean in interpreting said law. shouldn't ask them indeed! of course we should.

    Re: Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It (none / 0) (#9)
    by Pete Guither on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:02 PM EST
    Interestingly, Orin Kerr of Volokh Conspiracy has linked to this post (via the Corner) and speculates that Miers may be "a fifth vote to accelerate the restrictions the Supreme Court has imposed on capital punishment."

    She's the sycophant of a traitor, but hey -- no problem! She's tough. "I told you it would be hard." -- GWB, rubbing in his treasons. She is UNFIT. Not because of abortion, not because of sodomy, not because she is a woman, not because she is a Republican. She is UNFIT because she is the personal lawyer of a traitor who is doing everything in his power to destroy our system of checks and balances YET FURTHER. What about Bush v. Gore didn't the lawyers see? What about the Iraq War Powers Resolution -- and the precedent and subsequent LIES -- didn't you see? Who is qualified? ANYONE who is OUTSIDE his inner circle of traitors. I started out this millenia without Jose working out my family's enslavement. Five years later, and the US looks like a battered wife -- and the 'husband' is drinking again -- so get ready for a new round of midnight rapes and tortures. Harriet Miers will be holding the duct tape.

    His is the President women. the three part of goverment are not to be together does this mean he will get what he went by going to the court. we don't need her a judge. and I have told my senator this.

    If people are unfit because they are Republican, then people should be unfit because they are Democrats, as well. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    Re: Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It (none / 0) (#13)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:02 PM EST
    Quick pts: HM is a stealth candidate, and even after all the infighting over her by R's, little more info has been proferred, so it's deliberate. Which means she is either a stealth moderate or a stealth conservative. Given Bush's prior judicial picks, it's pretty easy to see where the better odds reside. Further, if HM were a moderate, then Bush would have no political reason to keep her as the nominee anymore. Politically, he's got some of his base mad at him now, and he could make them happier overnight by replacing her with any of a number of other possibilities. If he's leaving HM in place, still, the only remaining reason to do so is if she's a lot more conservative than anyone else he could get confirmed. He's sacrificing short-term poll ratings for long-term judicial victory. Good trade. No way he withdraws her. The Right worries she could be another Souter, and I think they're correct ... except that I think she'll be the Souter of the Dems, the candidate who, for years on end, causes the base to no longer trust their leaders on SCOTUS picks. The fb has enabled a new 60 vote supermajority requirement that, except for the occasional ordinary superstar like Roberts, leaves Bush with two choices: 1. cave in; or 2. go stealth. Get used to hearing "we don't really know much about this nominee yet" for when RBG and/or Souter and/or Stevens retire.

    Re: Memo to Right: Harriet Won't Quit, Get Over It (none / 0) (#14)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:02 PM EST
    Anyone who has accomplished what Ms Miers has certainly can perform the work of a Supreme Court justice.
    If you mean the woman who declares that gwb is the smartest man she ever met, I humbly submit that that is reason enough to reject her. She is either a syncophant or stupid. Neither are qualities one desires on the supreme court.