Only in America

I just don’t get it. How on earth can a president in all seriousness nominate to the Supreme Court of the United States a lawyer who has never made a judicial decision? A lawyer who has never been a judge is going to be a judge on the highest court in the land?

Harriet Ellan Miers for twenty eight years practiced law. For twenty eight years she engaged exclusively in the advocacy of whatever cause paid her bills. She was never required to be fair, particularly honest, objective, impartial or judicial in any way.

As a Supreme Court justice her primary concern would be the fair and impartial interpretation of the Constitution. Her opinions in that regard would have serious and far reaching effects. I don’t see a single line in her resume suggesting she’s given the Constitution a second thought since high school.

I realize that in the past there have been other inexperienced Supreme Court justices. Rehnquist was one of them and there were eighteen others. Of course, I don’t get those either. But this is America. In this lovely country qualifications aren’t worth spit when it comes to getting elected or appointed to high public office.

Show me where I’m wrong.

Now it’s not that Ms. Miers isn’t qualified to do something. She’s probably a very good lawyer – she was once the president’s personal attorney in a fishing house case – and I’m sure that when the president invited her to the White House as a staff secretary, she became pretty good at that too. She even chaired the Texas Lottery Commission for a few years.

These are fine experiences and I admire her for them. But I have trouble seeing her as a judge, let alone a justice on the high court. I’m not saying she ought to start in traffic court, but shouldn’t she practice a little judgeship somewhere?

Miers is no doubt a decent, capable person who could well be a pleasure to know. But even the hard line conservatives are fuming at this nomination.

Manny Miranda, who runs conservative coalition The Third Branch Conference said Miers was “the most unqualified choice” for the Supreme Court since Lyndon Johnson tried to make Abe Fortas chief justice in 1968.

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard magazine called her selection “a combination of cronyism and capitulation” on the part of the president.

Of course, what these Republicans want is a nominee who has a clear record of conservative legal opinions, and this candidate hasn’t got a record. But that may be a good thing. The Democrats are unlikely to put up much fight for that very reason; that, and the fact that she has been an on again, off again Democrat.

You can’t say she isn’t flexible.

But I’m not looking at the political side of this. As a citizen, I’d just like to know that the people running this show have a clue as to what they’re doing.

First we had Chertoff appointed to manage the biggest bureaucracy on the planet, the Department of Homeland Security. He was a career long prosecuting attorney who might have managed a Boy Scout troop once. Then we had this poor fellow who was appointed to run FEMA. I don’t even want to go there.

Really, I’m not complaining. I’m just amazed, or I think I’m amazed.

Look, Ms. Miers might make a great Supreme Court justice. Who really knows? This is the United States of America and amazing things can happen.

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2 Responses to Only in America

  1. David Drake says:

    Enjoyed it, and I’ll try to check it out every time there’s new content.

  2. Kent Woods says:

    Roger,I find this hysteria over Ms. Meirs’ qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court puzzling. One would think that she was going to be appointed to fill in for Diana Ross of the Supremes, which of course would require extraordinary talent and qualifications. The criticism that she has probably not read the US Constitution since High School is really the point.The Constitution is a 28-page pamphlet (which I found to be an easy read at eighteen). However I have no memory to any reference in those 28 pages to a right to privacy, affirmative action, hate speech, or the definition of the word “militia”. And yet somehow these learned judges managed to MIRACULOUSLY find references to these knotty problems somewhere in those 28 pages. So, the obvious conclusion I have come to is that they haven’t read the Constitution since high school either. Worse, that if they did read it, they have absolutely no recollection of it. Just to be sure, I recently re-read it to check.Unlike joining the very talented Supremes, the only qualification for sitting on the Supreme Court that I can see is the ability to read a 28 page pamphlet at a high school reading level, be in possession of a fertileimagination, have the chutzpah to sit around playing dress-up in black robes, and pretend to find answers to weighty matters in a document that contains no mention of them specifically or by reference.To those who worry that Ms. Meirs was never a judge, I would reassure them, that this might be her only real qualification. No real judge in this country would allow sketchy hearsay evidence by someone two hundred years dead, writing about something that had no bearing on the question at issue, to be heard in his or her courtroom. Ergo, in a field of judges, Ms. Meirs is the only obvious choice.Just be glad that Ms. Meirs has not been appointed to join the talented Supremes. Now that would be controversial ……

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