October 13, 2005
'Sexism' and the First Family
By Pat Buchanan
Asked on NBC's
"Today" show if criticism of the Harriet Miers nomination
might be rooted in sexism, first lady Laura Bush seemed to welcome
think that's possible," she purred, describing Miers as "an
extraordinarily accomplished woman" who had "broken
the glass ceiling." Thus did Laura Bush associate herself
with the stand of Ellie Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation,
who has branded critics of Miers' meager credentials a pack of
think that essentially that this hue and cry that she isn't qualified,
there's a sexist basis to it," Smeal told The New York
Times. "Does she have the mental capacity? Give me a
break. Would they say that about a man? I don't think they would."
Mikulski also waded in: "I am shocked at the sexism ... coming
out of the far right."
the former RNC chair with the unenviable task of shepherding Miers
through confirmation, told a gathering of conservatives last week
his sensitive nostrils had also picked up a "whiff of sexism
and a whiff of elitism" among them.
What the first lady and Gillespie seek to accomplish by tarring
critics of Miers' nomination sexist -- i.e., men bigoted against
women -- thus impugning the motives and character of conservatives
who have loyally supported President Bush, escapes me.
But if there is sexism in this nomination, it is transparently
not the critics of Harriet Miers who are the guilty party.
if one defines "sexism" as denying consideration for
high office of all members of one gender, regardless of ability,
or a conscious favoritism rooted in gender alone, it is President
Bush and the first lady who are guilty of sexism in the nomination
of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court.
For we have
it on the word of Dr. James Dobson that, in filling this decisive
swing seat on the Supreme Court, President Bush, at the prodding
of his wife, eliminated from consideration every male lawyer in
the United States -- and more than 80 percent of all U.S. district
and appellate court judges -- solely because of his gender.
not deliberate discrimination on the basis of sex alone?
to The Washington Post, Dobson, "after receiving
permission from (Karl) Rove," revealed the contents of their
now-famous conversation. Dobson, said
the Post, claims "Rove told him Bush was focused
on finding a woman for the court, which he said may have cut the
list of candidates '80 percent.'"
never asked Bush to eliminate women from consideration. But Bush
unilaterally and arbitrarily eliminated men.
is the sexist here?
narrowed even further the pool of nominees by eliminating Catholics
and Jews. "People are interested to know why I picked Harrier
Myers," AP writer Nedra Pickler quotes
Bush as saying. "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."
is nothing wrong about considering ethnicity, religion, geography
or gender in a nominee. Every Democratic president since Wilson
maintained a "Jewish seat" on the Supreme Court. But
Brandeis, Frankfurter and Fortas were all considered brilliant,
and Clinton's choices, Ginsburg and Breyer, were never accused
of lacking credentials.
the first African-American, Marshall. Nixon in '68 pledged to
appoint a Southern conservative. Reagan named the first woman,
O'Connor, and the first Italian-American, Scalia.
with Bush's selection process is this: He included so many extraneous
disqualifiers that he eliminated all of the most qualified. In
the hallowed name of "diversity," excellence was thrown
out the window.
put into an IBM computer the name of every lawyer in the United
States and then added the following qualifications -- the nominee
must be a devout Christian, a woman and preferably "outside
the monastery" of the federal bench, with no paper trail,
who will not trigger a Senate fight or filibuster, and who George
Bush has come to know and like -- the name of Harriet Miers will
pop out every time.
so many disqualifiers, Bush and the first lady lost sight of what
should have been his first and supreme consideration: a justice
cut from the same bolt of cloth as Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas,
who had a formed judicial philosophy of strict construction of
the Constitution, and the intelligence and capacity not only to
argue that position, but to persuade other justices of its wisdom.
out a shingle reading "No Males Need Apply!" Bush has
made the O'Connor seat the affirmative action seat for women on
the U.S. Supreme Court.
a question: Will Justice Harriet Miers, a beneficiary of affirmative
action, recuse herself when the issue of discrimination against
men comes before the court?
2005 Creators Syndicate