The Right Coast

October 05, 2005
Miers pro-life says somebody or other
By Tom Smith

This sort of thing is going around.

Underwhelming. I knew this guy whose tennis coach also coached the woman who cleaned the house of Mier's mechanic, and he said, the mechanic, not the guy, that she (the house cleaner) said that the tennis coach said that Miers said to the guy, that she thought she was probably, when it came right down to it, pro-life, and least that's what she (the tennis coach) thought he (the guy) said she said. So I support the nomination. Pathetic. To call this sort of "evidence" lame insults the lame.

Moreover, who cares what anyone said? You know a guy who says he thinks courage under fire is the most important trait a person can have. He wrote a book about courage. He says he would be courageous under fire, that's how important he thinks it is. Now this guy is getting shot at by people who want to kill him. Question: Will this guy fight back, or throw down his weapon and run away, waving his arms and screaming shrillly? Clue: You have no idea. Nobody does. This is why it would have been a good idea to nominate some judge who has walked the walk.

This is all rather nostalgic for me. I remember like it was yesterday telling certain persons who shall remain nameless that Judge Souter really looked just like someone who would be a liberal Supreme Court Justice. But oh, no, I was ill-informed. I had not had access to all the super-secret, deep and probing discussions with the mind of Souter, so that I could not know that deep down in that New Hampshire lad was a man of granite, a flinty conservative, as rocky and harsh and wintry as the New England landscape in February. Which all turned out to be, as we say in the heartland, a complete crock.

Hugh Hewitt asks, rhetorically, whether I trust the President or not. Well, do you trust him? Let me answer that this way: No. Actually, No, I don't. Big negativo on that one. As long as we are talking trust, let's talk background and character. I always thought the Bushes were an extraordinarily clannish lot. Bush the Elder surrounded himself with buddies and loyalists and anyone who cared about conservative ideas was suspect. They all had to go work for Danny Q, who may not have been as stupid as he was portrayed in the press, but still. Bush the Younger seems to have grafted Texas good ol' boyism on to Yale Bulldoggery, and come up with something even worse. I mean really. I think even Bill Clinton, sociopath that he was, would have been too embarrassed to nominate his buddy-lawyer to the Supreme Court. I object strenously to their politics, but Clinton nominated highly qualified people to the Court. Ruth Ginsburg is as smart as they come, even if she is a threat to the Republic, and so is Breyer. So what if LBJ nominated Fortas to CJ. LBJ used to make his aides brief him while he was moving his bowels; he was impossible to embarass.

Of course, some of our greatest justices have not been judges or academics, but fairly obscure practicing lawyers who hitched their wagons to rising political stars until they could importune him with their desire to sit on the most powerful judicial tribunal in the history of law. Oh, except that's not true. Maybe Justice White falls into the category of Presidential buddy, but he was not a great Justice, just a great football player. The important justices who had no judicial experience were US Senators or Governors or legendary professors at Harvard, or leaders of their generations (I'm thinking Brandeis, assuming you think he was an important justice). None of them I can think of were just the usual sort of supporting staff anyone who gets to be President has. Why not Hamilton Jordan as Justice? He was a lawyer, wasn't he? Give credit to Rush Limbaugh; he was saying this morning quite rightly (someone is writing good scripts for him lately) that we live in a time that requires that Supreme Court Justices be better than ever before, that they be really committed to the science and culture of law (a nice phrase). And he is absolutely right. Maybe there are times of peace and consensus when any competent lawyer would do, but that's not now. We need somebody who can inspire, impress, persuade, and really lead the troubled herd of lawyers, someone who can be an honest to God leading light in the profession. The times demand it, surely. But instead. I do think there is a decent chance that Justice Miers will turn out not to be a disaster, but merely a missed opportunity, but still, that is much to be regretted. This nomination is so bad, it makes me wonder if Bush isn't disintegrating or decompensating or something. I almost prefer to think that to thinking he has been this much of a doofus all along.