Friday, October 07, 2005

Cronies and qualifications

Examining Harrier Miers' credentials for Supreme Court justice, one has to ask the question: How did the Bushies previously manage to nominate someone as qualified as John Roberts? Miers is obviously unqualified and just as obviously a recipient of rampant Bush loyalist cronyism, while Roberts was neither; they are the yin and the yang of all possible nominees. How did the Bushies get the first one so right and the second one so wrong?

First, to Miers' qualifications. She doesn't have any. Bush nominating his personal lawyer to the Supreme Court would be like me nominating my dentist to be Surgeon General. He might be able to do the job (or he might not), but there are tons of people a lot more qualified. When Miers' strongest points appear to be that she's "nice" and organized and makes a good cup of coffee, you know something fishy is afoot. When challenged as to the wisdom of his choice during a day after press conference, Bush said, "I picked the best person I could find." I guess he wasn't looking too hard. It just goes to show that Bush's circle of cronies and sycophants is actually quite small; I mean, isn't he running out of friends to promote to high places?

I'm not concerned with Miers' political or religious leanings, although others will be. (I admit, it's kind of fun to watch the hard-right social conservatives blow a gasket over Miers' lack of demonstrable conservative bona fides.) I'm concerned with qualifications, and the ability to do the job. We appoint nine whole people to rule as the highest court in the land; they should be the top legal and constitutional minds available. A second-rate lawyer who went to a third-rate law school and became a fourth-rate political flunky and memo editor doesn't qualify, in my book. John Roberts, in spite of his political views (whatever they turn out to be), is the kind of appointee that is hard to vote against, strictly on his extremely impressive resume and real-world experience. The guy's qualified to do the job; Harriet Miers isn't.

The Senate -- both Republican and Democratic members -- should unite to vote against Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court. We should demand more from our public servants than what Bush has given us this time around. (And why did Bush give us such a blatant crony? Because there will be lots of major court cases over the next 4-5 years having to do with the various misdeeds undertaken by the current administration; Bush wants a friend on the court who can be relied on to always vote in his favor.)

My prediction? Under increasing pressure and the likelihood of a strong "no" vote, Miers will withdraw her name from nomination. This is -- or at least it should be -- a non-starter, for all concerned.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

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