In a short break from pregancy stuff, I just have to say something about the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination.
This has been bugging me for a while. Ever since she was first put forward, it seems that the main reasons the president has given conservatives for supporting her are:
1. I know her.
2. She's a woman.
3. Trust me.
Well, in short, those reasons suck.
The first problem I have with the nomination is that it seems sneaky. Why pick someone who has a very thin record, and not many written opinions regarding constitutional issues? When Bush nominated John Roberts, everyone agreed that he was highly qualified. He had argued many cases before the Supreme Court, he had clear conservative ties, and even those on the other end of the ideological spectrum agreed that he knew what he was doing. With Miers, we get no such impression. We know that she's a Christian, but so what? Her lack of a record communicates that the administration is trying to hide something. Why not just be honest? Pick a nominee who has a clear conservative record, if that's the kind of person you want on the court. Will there be a battle? Sure, but let's go for it. Don't give us someone no one knows anything about and then just ask us to trust you. When Clintion nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he didn't try to hide that she's a liberal. Just be honest.
Secondly, so Harriet Miers is a woman. Big deal. I would rather have a man that is qualified than a woman who is not. If you can find a woman who is clearly qualified, great. I'm sure there are some out there. But don't just pick a woman to fulfill some kind of quota. That isn't what conservatives do. That's what conservatives are always complaining about liberals doing.
The third thing that bothers me is that the Bush administration seems to misunderstand the conservative base. With Miers, the insinuation is "she's against Roe v. Wade". Well, okay, but there are lots of other issues out there that we care about. There are lots of other issues that come before the Supreme Court. How about property rights? Illegal immigration? Prisoner abuse? The death penalty? The pledge of allegiance? Does she have any knowledge about these issues? What is her constitutional philosophy? Conservatives want someone who interprets the constitution according to the original intent of the framers, not according to the judge's personal preferences. Conservatives (well, some of us, anyway) don't want a right-wing activist, we want an originalist. Hey, maybe sometimes the interpreting the constitution according to original intent may lead to Supreme Court decisions contrary to some conservative preferences, but the constitution will be followed, and that is the important thing. So, Miers is against Roe v. Wade. But why is she against it? Is it because she thinks abortion is wrong, or is it because she beleives it was bad law in the first place?
I have actually heard a talk show host say, "I'm supporting Miers because James Dobson and Jay Sekulow support her." To me, that is ridiculous and scary. Why can't you think these things out for yourself? There are real issues at stake here. This is not some kind of game.
Then, I see this article
in the Chicago Tribune, talking about how Miers didn't even do a complete job filling out a questionairre given to her by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is the kind of thing that seems to communicate to the Senate and to the rest of us, "screw you, the president likes me, so I don't have to give you anything." Many of the senators on the committee said that this is insulting, and it is.
That is not how this country works. We have a democracy, not a dictatorship, and I don't take the president, or any other politician, on his word. Explain to us why we should support this person. Give some solid reasons to support her. Tell us about her background. Don't say "Trust me". Ronald Reagan said, in 1980, in response to Carter asking the American people to trust him:
Mr. Carter says, trust him. Well, that's not what this country is all about. We don't place trust in one man. If there's trust placed in anyone it's the trust placed in the American people, and it's up to the elected leaders to not violate that trust. It is a belief of principles and ideals that survive, not the trust of one man.
So, no, Mr. President. I don't trust you. Not until you give me a reason to.