Monday, October 03, 2005

Miers Nominated to Supreme Court

   As soon as I awoke this morning, the media were abuzz with the news that White House Counsel Harriet Miers had been nominated to the Supreme Court. Despite the fact that her name had only surfaced in speculation in the last week or so, it seems that President Bush had been considering her since this summer.

   I have no informed opinion on this nomination at this time. That she was White House Counsel is a credit to her nomination, but I probably would have preferred a sitting judge.

   Although Miers was recommended to the president by Republican and Democrat senators alike, Senator Chuck Schumer has already tipped his hand, noting that the O'Connor seat is the "swing seat," which is one of the more ridiculous things I've heard him say. Given how hard the Democrats fought for the presidency last year, I find it hard to believe that John Kerry would have named a conservative to replace Chief Justice Rehnquist, or a swing voter to replace Justice O'Connor. What's next? In the event that Justice Stevens retires, would a Republican president be required to fill the seat with a like-minded judge? I don't recall anything in the Constitution constricting the judicial President's choices to perserve a supposed ideological balance on the Court, especially when the shorthand for ideological placements fails so often and so utterly to describe the nuance of the individual judges' philosophies.

   Look for this confirmation to be rather more bitter than the last one.


Blogger Kevin said...

That she was White House Counsel is a credit to her nomination, but I probably would have preferred a sitting judge.

Why? Chief Justice Rehnquist hadn't been a judge prior to being on the Supreme Court, and you seem to have a positive opinion of his work.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Bostonian Exile said...

That's true. I did not mean to suggest that I could not support a nominee who was not a judge, or that such a nominee would necessarily make a sub-par justice. That said, my preference is still for sitting judges.

As for non-judges, I think that people who had spent time in the Solicitor General's office, or who had substantial appellate experience in the private sector (Maureen Mahoney comes to mind) can make incredibly strong nominees to the Court. On the other hand, I have never been able to sign on to "political" choices; Hugo Black and Earl Warren, for example, served admirably on the Court, but they likely would not have been my first choices as nominees at the times they were nominated. Also, I could not see myself actively supporting any currently sitting senator, as some people have suggested this nominee should be.

Law professors could make good candidates as well, but there is the concern that a lot of academics have done relatively little litigating.

So, until I see more, I have a very hard time getting excited about this nomination.

9:55 AM  

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