Saturday, October 8

Harriet Miers: A Personal Endorsement

After listening to various opinions, and evaluating the facts we know so far, I am cautiously endorsing Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I posted a round up of key opinions here. These are my reasons.
  1. The negative stories that have come out, such as donations to the Democrats, have been reasonably addressed by those that know Miers best.
  2. Those who have spoken of her faith, character, and commitment to values are trustworthy people who know her well and know her personally.
  3. As Dr. Dobson asserts, Bush has not gone wrong on his nominations, so I am trusting he is making a solid choice in Miers. Also, I am taking into consideration Dr. Dobson's trustworthy opinions, and the facts he is privy to regarding Miers.
  4. She is professionally qualified. While I believe there could have been more qualified nominees, I cannot pretend to understand or know the political battle that these nominees face, and have to acknowledge that Bush may be making the smartest choice--a qualified, solid originalist conservative who can pass through the Senate.
I am not advocating blind trust of Bush or the party line, nor am I advocating ignorance of the issue of qualifications. I am saying that looking at over all information, with what I know today, I am in favor of her nomination.

I liked what Marvin Olasky had to say:

Will her compass needle turn to Washington's heavy metal once a lifetime court position is in hand and constraints are off? No one knows for sure but it seems unlikely. Mr. Hecht says she's not a social butterfly who will be swayed by Washington dinner table conversation: "She goes to the dinners she's supposed to go to. She's not on the social circuit."

Her administration colleague says she's not going to pay much mind to the good reviews she could receive from top law journals and Ivy League law professors if she were to move leftward. Ms. Miers has never run in those circles and "of the hundreds of people I knew in the White House, she's almost uniquely unaffected by Potomac fever." That's because, her friends say, she's centered on Christ.

Her friends point to her Christ-like service. Rob Mowrey, 53, an attorney who worked with Ms. Miers at their Dallas law firm and has known her since 1979, talks about how in the 1990s, with an aged mom suffering from dementia, "Harriet moved her mother not only into her own house but into her bedroom, because her mother would wake up in the night and be distraught if she wasn't right there."

Judge Kinkeade praises Ms. Miers as "a great lawyer with perfect ethics" who's willing to sacrifice herself for others. When the Texas Lottery Commission was a corrupt mess, he says, the non-gambling Ms. Miers agreed to clean it up; the judge says, "I wouldn't have taken that job if you put a shotgun on me." He says she led the fight years ago to get Dallas lawyers to do pro bono work, and led by example by volunteering to help Exodus Ministries, a Dallas organization that helps ex-prisoners to get a life outside jail.

Also, I have taken into careful consideration the endorsement by Hugh Hewitt, who understand the issue better through his experience as a lawyer and someone how has been inside the White House.

Harriet Miers isn't a Justice Souter pick, so don't be silly. It is a solid, B+ pick. The first President Bush didn't know David Souter, but trusted Chief of Staff Sunnunu and Senator Rudman. The first President Bush got burned badly because he trusted the enthusiasm of others.

The second President Bush knows Harriet Miers, and knows her well. The White House Counsel is an unknown to most SCOTUS observers, but not to the president, who has seen her at work for great lengths of years and in very different situations, including as an advisor in wartime. Leonard Leo is very happy with the choice, which ought to be enough for most conservatives.

As I wrote last night, Judges Luttig and McConnell are the most qualified nominees out there, but I think from the start that the president must have decided that this seat would be given to a woman, and it is very hard to argue that she is not the most qualified woman to be on the SCOTUS for the simple reason that she has been in the White House for many years.

Finally, probably the strongest influence on my decision to endorse are Dr. James Dobson's words.
"We welcome the president's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. He pledged emphatically during his campaign to appoint judges who will interpret the law rather than create it. He also promised to select competent judges who will 'not use the bench to write social policy.' To this point, President Bush's appointments to the federal bench appear to have been remarkably consistent with that stated philosophy. Based on the information known generally about Harriet Miers, and President Bush's personal knowledge of her, we believe that she will not prove to be a lone exception.

"On the other hand, one cannot know absolutely about matters of integrity and philosophy until a jurist is given the tremendous power and influence of their position. As Lord Acton said: 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Sadly, that seems to have happened to Justices Souter and Kennedy. All we can say now is that Harriet Miers appears to be an outstanding nominee for the Supreme Court.

"We look forward to learning more about her at the confirmation hearings."

Make sure to listen to his radio show. You can podcast through here. I am confident she will be confirmed by the Senate.

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