The fatman chronicles--all hope renounce, ye lost, who enter here

"If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules."--Patterico's Pledge

Monday, October 24, 2005

"I oppose the Miers nomination."

That's the answer to the question being asked at the truth laid bear . N.Z. Bear wants to know who in the blogosphere supports the Miers nomination, who opposes it and who's still sitting on the fence.

Now I'm certainly no constitutional scholar or lawyer. Heck, I never even went to college. So where do I get off thinking I'm qualified to judge Miers' (pun intended) qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court? Simple; I can read.

I've read, among other things:

Ms. Miers is a past president of the Texas Bar Association. So? The fact that she could get herself elected to that post, while a notable accomplishment, isn't particularly relevant to her qualifications for a lifetime appointment to the one Court in this country that can't be over-ruled on appeal.

She shares the President's judicial philosophy. Which is? I may be wrong, but as far as I know, the President has never practiced law and doesn't have a law degree. Which means his judicial philosophy, while it may carry more weight since he's the President, isn't any more valid than mine.

She's a deeply religous evangelical Christian. And that, I presume, is supposed to placate Christian conservatives. Now being an atheist doesn't mean that I'm opposed to deeply religious people holding public office. In fact, if they're true believers, maybe they'll be more honest and honorable in their actions. But it shouldn't be assumed that a person's strongly held religious beliefs automatically make that person competent to hold that office. Any more than not having such beliefs affects their competence.

She's contributed to pro-life causes and supported a constitutional ban on abortion. Unfortunately that doesn't tell anyone how she might vote in cases like Kelo v. New London, on whether McCain-Feingold is constitutional, or even on the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade. She could very well believe that Roe is settled constitutional law and the only way to overturn it is through an amendment. And if you don't think any of those cases are going to show up on the Court's doorstep again, consider this: In the1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court enshrined "seperate but equal" (Jim Crow segregation) as the law of the land, despite three constitutional ammendments that said otherwise (13th, 14th and 15th). In 1954, the Court revisited the issue in Brown v. Board of Education and changed its mind.

She's a stickler for detail. Not when it came to filling out the standard Senate questionaire citing her experience and qualifications. And not in her answers to Senators' questions during her courtesy calls on them, where she answered more than a few questions with "I'll have to bone up on that."

There are other reasons, most notably her apparent support for minority set-asides (not just affirmative action, which would be bad enough). But what really worries me is the fact that this is a lifetime appointment. If she turns out to be another Sandra Day O'Connor or Anthony Kennedy (even a conservative version of them, which would be just as bad), we can't do it over. We're stuck with her. Just as Dwight D. Eisenhower was stuck with Earl Warren and William Brennan. A justice who rules based on what she believes the law (constitutional or statutory) should say, not what it does say.