October 28, 2005
Miers May Have Helped Save Bush's Presidency
her nomination, Harriet Miers spared herself an agonizing inquisition
and probable rejection by the Senate and did George W. Bush the
greatest service of her career. She may just have helped him save
Like a school
marm indulging a teacher’s pet, Miss Miers just gave George
Bush permission to retake the final exam he booted badly. She
has given him a second chance to succeed where Nixon, Ford, Reagan
and his father all failed: To become the president who rang down
the curtain on 50 years of judicial tyranny and reshaped the Supreme
Court into the great constitutionalist body the Founding Fathers
is a lucky man to have a friend like Harriet Miers.
Had her nomination
been pursued through the judiciary committee to the full Senate,
it would have meant civil war inside the party. President Bush
would have been forced to watch members of his Congressional party
and conservatives publicly call for rejection and defeat of the
woman who had given him a decade of devoted service.
from this fratricidal war could have lasted for years. By standing
down, Miers called off the family fight about to erupt inside
the president’s own household.
befit Harriet Miers’ nomination than the style and grace
of her leaving it. Mirabile dictu, it may have been the Washington
Post that spared us this ordeal by delivering a painless
coup de grace.
hours before Miers withdrew, the Post carried on page
one the report of an startling speech she delivered in 1993
to a Dallas women’s group. As the Post’s
Jo Becker reported, while still president of the Texas Bar Association,
Miers “defended judges who order lawmakers to address social
who “order lawmakers to address social concerns” that
the lawmakers decline or refuse to take up is the quintessence
of judicial activism. I.e., it is the substitution by judges of
their own ideas of what law and public policy ought to be for
that of the men and women elected to write laws and to make public
went on: “While judicial activism is derided by many conservatives,
Miers said that sometimes ‘officials would rather abandon
to the courts the hard questions so they can respond to constituents:
I did not want to do that -- the court is making me.’”
Lawmakers often prefer to “let this cup pass away”
and let courts decide social and moral issues. But if we are to
remain a republic, the proper recourse, when lawmakers lack the
courage or wisdom to do the right thing is not to have judges
order them to do the right thing, but to elect new lawmakers.
In her speech
Miers showed sympathy for feminist causes, spoke of the “glass
ceiling,” and said that on issues like abortion: “The
underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more
self-determination. And the more I think abut these issues the
more self-determination makes sense.”
to be implying that Roe vs. Wade, by which the legal
protection of unborn life was removed from the jurisdiction of
lawmakers and handed over to women, was probably the right call.
absence of a judicial record or a deeply embedded philosophy of
judicial restraint, her expressed sympathy for jurists who order
legislators to act, her sympathy for feminist causes, it is hard
to see how a conservative senator could vote to make her the decisive
voice on the Supreme Court for the next generation.
If they voted
her down they would split the party and enrage the president.
If they voted her onto the court, they would betray the voters
to whom they had pledged to support only strict constructionists
and constitutionalists of proven merit and ability.
It was lose,
lose. The president, his party and the Right were all marching
grimly toward First Manassas when Sister Harriet saved us all.
Leahy and Boxer are urging President Bush to “show strength,”
by appointing a moderate. But, if I am not mistaken, didn’t
Bush just do that? And how did the nominee that made Harry Reid
a happy man turn out?
Bush just survived a barrel ride over Niagara Falls. A man of
reasonable intelligence would not risk it a second time.
nominations of John Roberts and Bernard Bernanke, Bush appointed
men of experience and proven capacity who shared his beliefs.
Given this heaven-sent second chance, he should do the same with
the Supreme Court: Pick a justice whose credentials are unimpeachable
and whose judicial philosophy reads likes an excerpt from The
Collected Works of Antonin Scalia.
With a single
stroke -- the nomination of a Supreme Court justice who will remove
the smile from the countenance of Chuck Schumer and unite his
unhappy household in praise of Bush and anticipation of battle,
as they pull down the rusty old pike-staffs from the wall, President
Bush can begin the resurrection of his presidency.
In the title
of the old Gospel Song, “Oh Happy Day.”
2005 Creators Syndicate