What do we critics want?
In the first part of the post, Hugh argues that opposing Miers on her intellectual skills is not a valid reason.
The idea that Miers cannot go toe to toe with the giant brains on the Supreme Court is a very odd argument, on a number of fronts. It assumes that the business of judging is very difficult and that only scholars and intellectuals are suited to the task, when in fact scholars and intellectuals have brought us to the point where the SCOTUS has become such a political problem. Read these excerpts:
All of these quotes are from Robert Bork's impressive introduction to "A Country I Do Not Recognize: The Legal Assault of American Values," a collection of essays published by Hoover Press months ago, and edited by Bork.
Bork's on target critique of SCOTUS is not that is not powered by enough intellect, but that intellectuals or would-be intellectuals have run it over the cultural cliff. It is odd indeed that some denouncing Miers, including now Judge Bork, seem to anchor their fiercest arguments in the fact that she's not smart enough for the job, when the implication of Judge Bork's argumnent is that the last thing the SCOTUS needs is another would be legal titan.
For me anyway, I am not primarily concerned with Miers' intellectual prowess. I sometimes get the heebie jeebies from the phrase "world class legal mind". It conjures up a person who is exceptionally good at finding emanations in penumbras, and constructing arguments around the idea that it "depends on what the meaning of 'is' is".
No, conservatives are not looking for such a mind. We are looking for a person with a firm judicial philosophy, one so firmly held in their gut they will not be swayed by fancy arguments designed primarily to win encomiums at the next Georgetown wine and brie party.
To Hugh's point about judicial practice, again, it's not primarily a question of experience on the bench, the question is where is the evidence that Miers holds that kind of conviction I mentioned? Is Bush the only one on the planet who knows?
For asking just this very thing, for reassurance that Miers is indeed a person of conviction, conservatives are pilloried by those who don't seem to view the Judiciary as a runaway branch.
One example is this post from Strata-Sphere.
My position on the Miers debacle is clear: the anti-Miers ideologues, driven by their irrational fears and wild fantasy scenarios, have become so fanatical they are killing the conservative movement dead in its tracks.
But because these people are obsessed with making abortion illegal, they do not care about anything else - including the war on terror.
I do not trust fair weather allies who give up everything when they do not get their way. I said before, here, that the fanatical right had to be careful and not go so far out on the fringe or they would lose the normal conservatives. I should have known better. Obsession blocks out everything else - especially logic.
I am not a moderate. I have no use for McCain’s brand of policies. They stink. I am for low taxes and smaller government and I am not ‘moderate’ in these positions. I am pro life and I am not ‘moderate’ in that position. And I am for defending this country and winning in Iraq, and I so not take that stand from a positoin of ‘moderation’.
But I am not so fanatically obsessed that I would throw all this away because Miers is not Janice Rogers Brown. Too many can and have. I have lost all faith in the fanatical right. I cannot support them or trust them anymore.
I already wrote here about the puzzlement conservatives feel over being attacked for standing up for principles we thought we all shared. So, I won't rehash that here.
But I chose this passage because it exemplifies my confusion. I am against abortion, I do want to see this practice ended. At the very least, I'd like to see this issue taken out of a Court that simply makes up its own laws. AJ says he is not a moderate, that he is pro-life and not moderate on that position. So far so good I say. Yet, suddenly, I'm a fanatic. Why? If abortion is the violent ending of a human life, is that not an issue worth fighting about?
So, in answer to Hugh's question, I say this. I want a fight. I want a debate about why activism is dangerous, about what we've given away as a people. I don't want to see these large issues swept under the rug and be told to just hope things work out for the best.
If this isn't worth fighting over, what is? What is?
Michelle Malkin has a good roundup, and voices what I have been feebly trying to express here, that President Bush and his advisors vastly underestimated the effect this nomination would have on supporters like me.