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Miers, Miers, Miers

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Transcripts of today’s interviews with anti-Miers Cornerites Stanley Kurtz and Roger Clegg as well as with Irish Pennants’ Jack Kelly will be up at later.

Stanley thinks I am handicapped by being a law professor and demanding standards of proof from Miers critics that the public doesn’t need.

In fact, I am increasingly confident that the charges against Miers on the issue of affirmative action are based on a single Washington Post article to which conservatives overreacted in the absence of hard evidence of what they believed Miers to believe. Roger Clegg now has the resolution, and will fax it to me tomorrow, but it seems to me that arguing that the Bar’s position was a “quota” when the Bar’s resolution says “goal (not a quota)” leaves the question open.

The good news is that the hearings can certainly ask the nominee about the Texas Bar’s policies in this area, and that her answers can be very detailed as to what she supported and why.

UPDATE: An excellent post on why the president won’t cut and run on Miers from TwoMinuteOffense. (HT: Powerline.)

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Two Contests

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First, a Crosley radio to the first person to send me a link to the June 24, 1992 Texas Bar Association Resolution that anti-Miers commentators are citing as evidence of her unreliability on Bollinger v. Grutter and related issues.

I have reviewed the Miers essay for the October 1992 issue of the Texas Bar Journal, “Inclusion, Education and Monitoring,” and there is nothing that is objectionable in the piece and much that is in fact quite admirable.

The hiring policies urged by the Texas Bar on private law firms may turn out to be quite objectionable, but they are not referenced in this essay, and the Washington Post article on the subject is not detailed enough for me to reach any conclusion. I am following a “trust but verify” approach to such allegations.

Jonah Goldberg, among others, bought the Washington Post line in full, writing about this article this way:

THIS IS WHERE I GET OFF [Jonah Goldberg ]

My official position on Miers has been to criticize the selection, but give her the benefit of the doubt until the hearings. In other words, bad pick but she’s the nominee so let’s give her a shot.

No more.

After reading this story I’m officially against Miers. I’m with the Editors , Will, Frum, and Krauthammer.

It’s not just that Miers was in favor of racial quotas — we’d pretty much known that for a while. It’s the fundamental confirmation that she’s a go-along-with-the-crowd establishmentarian. The White House says that her enthusiastic support for goals, timetables and quotas at the Bar Association says nothing about her views on government race policies. Yeah, right. She simultaneously thought what she was doing was great and important while also believing it would be unconstitutional if the government did the same thing.

The White House says she’s an unchanging rock of principle. Uh huh. So have her opinions held constant since the early 1990s? Or have they shifted with the wind? If she’s a rock, I don’t want her. If she’s a weather vane, I don’t want her.

I just don’t want her.

Start over.

Second, a Crosley radio and a blog of the month selection to the blogger who finds from among the postings/writings of a high profile critic of the Miers nomination demanding withdrawal of the nomination, a past quote praising the president for his refusal to bend to withering poitical criticism. Perhaps there are no such quotes, but I think that many voices on the right have in the past praised Bush’s resoluteness on other matters.

More from NRO

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I am trying to fairly represent the arguments being made against Miers and to respond to them.

But I am surprised how some excellent writers and friends are refusing to understand arguments the anti-anti-Miers people are mounting, choosing instead to read them so casually as to avoid responding. Two examples from today.

First, examine blogger extraordinaire Jim Geraghty’s characterization of one of my observations made in last night’s long post on Miers.

I wrote in relevant part:

Question: Well into his second term, mired in scandal and obvious unending lies and deepening crisis, did any senior Democrat turn on Bill Clinton? One year into his second term, and days after a huge and historically significant election in Iraq and a month after yet another unfair savaging at the hands of the MSM over Katrina, George Bush surveys his allegedly supportive pundits and the GOP Senate majority that he made, and he finds what?”

Jim responded this morning:

Is the Democratic Party’s steadfast refusal to hold Clinton accountable for anything really the role model that the GOP wants to emulate?…

Democrats stood shoulder-to-shoulder to defend perjury, suborning perjury, and reckless, obsessive behavior that should have made Al Gore president in 1998. (To think, he probably would have won in 2000 had he run as a sitting president out from Clinton’s shadow, instead of as a vice president trying to prove his alpha-maleness and leadership.)

We’re not those guys. And I don’t think we ought to be swayed by arguments calling for us to be more like them.

I did not call for the GOP to steadfastly defend the president and his nominee against obviously meritous charges of perjury, etc. I argued that the Democratic Party’s example of absurd and wrong headed loyalty of a scandal-plagued Clinton contrasted sharply with many among the GOP’s immediate turn on Bush/Miers even before the hearings, when Bush deserves political support from the very people he has aided, at a minimum until the hearings begin. The GOP and allied pundits cold move a long way towards party loyalty and the sort of political maturity that enduring majority coalitions need without ever coming close to the line the Democrats crossed with Clinton, and that move would serve the party and their goals in the long run.

I’d like to see Jim’s response to my actual point.

Similarly, over at MoltonThought, “Teflon” begins his analysis of the same post with this statement:

Hewitt doesn’t think non-lawyers are competent to judge Harriet Miers’ qualifications for SCOTUS

In fact, what I wrote, and what he quoted, says:

The majority of commentators who are not lawyers –there are many–are simply not equipped to judge Harriet Miers’ competence.

It is impossible to read that line as asserting that I think all non-lawyers aren’t competent to judge Miers’ qualifications. There are scores of very able non-lawyers who are equipped to do so. Take Terry Eastland, for example, an extraordinary analyst of SCOTUS decisions who is not a lawyer. Take pretty much the entire crowd at NRO.

But many commentators –just read the comments at various boards and blogs– wouldn’t know what a reference to Harlan’s dissent in Plessy meant and wouldn’t trouble themselves to find out, or even a couple of other major cases and turning points in the history of the SCOTUS. They are making outrageous leaps of logic and engaged in simple invective against a fine public servant and impressively accomplished lawyer. They are not in fact equipped to comment on her qualifications because there is a minimum background necessary that they lack.

The responses to arguments from the anti-anti-Miers crowd is to dodge the hard questions, which for the sake of brevity, I will list here:

Does George W. Bush deserve any loyalty from his party? From pundits identified with his party? If so, how much and why not more?

Do Harriett Miers’ many accomplishments count for nothing?

Does Harriett Miers strike the commentator as a dedicated public servant?

Why not wait for the hearings to at least begin?

How important is it that Roe v. Wade/Casey be reversed?

Which five precedents does the commentator think are in most pressing need of reversal?

Does the commentator agree with George Will’s assertion of Justice Lewis Powell as the “embodiment of mainstream conservative jurisprudence?”

Is a neo-Borking underway which will discredit the conservative cause’s defense of its future nominees against similar, future attacks from the left?

What are the political consequences of a defeat of Miers at the hands of a GOP controlled Senate?

Back to you Jim and Teflon. I’ll gladly link posts that respond to these questions in the order they are posed.

UPDATE: Responses from Penraker,Patterico, VitaBrevis, and OrdinaryEveryDayChristian.


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