[Posted by The Angry Clam]
Two major, intertwined defenses of the Miers travesty are that
1) As Counsel to the President, Miers helped Bush vet judges, therefore she’s probably in the same mold;
2) Bush has been “rock solid” on judges so far, so we should trust him.
The first one quickly becomes comical. Miers assumed her current position in February 2005, right as the 109th Congress began. Let’s take a look at the judges nominated since then. Some solid names on that list- Bill Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, Brett Kavanaugh, and William Myers.
OOOOOPS! All those people are re-nominations from the 108th Congress, when Alberto Gonzales was in charge of picking people. Somehow, I don’t think that such a fact would reassure me over Gonzales, and, as you’re about to find out, his track record on this is huge and amazingly solid compared to Miers’.
So who do we have since Miers took over, anyway? Only one- James Payne, to a seat on the 10th Circuit. Good job Harriet, nearly nine months into the job and you finally get a single nominee off your desk. Not really helping much to disprove her reputation as slow and indecisive or making the rumors that Andy Card thought she was incompetent and wanted her out of her job as secretary (a position that reports to him, but from which he cannot fire her due to her friendship with the President), now does it?
(This discussion inspired by Randy Barnett)
I have to admit that #2 actually carried some weight with me, but then I sat down and thought about it some more. Bush didn’t actually go through the big stack of resumes and pick these people out. He left that up to the good Federalist Society members that inhabit the Office of Legal Counsel and, somewhat surprisingly, Alberto Gonzales’ own staff.
Bush’s own personal picks have largely been disasters- Michael Brown, Julie Meyers, Bernie Kerik, the list goes on. His judgment is not very good when people he knows personally are involved.
But there is another, deeper reason that I’m concerned, which Quin from Southern Appeal noted yesterday on Confirm Them: Bush doesn’t really care about the judiciary. Sure, he’s willing to nominate good judges, but he doesn’t lift a damn finger to help them- no press conferences, no major administration pressure on the Senate, no media campaigns.
The bottom line is this: Bush doesn’t really give a damn about the judiciary on principle like so many of us do, and he’s totally happy to sell it down the river to allow him to get back to spending huge sums of money and appointing his friends to various federal offices.
I’ve quoted nearly all of Quin’s post in the extended entry, but do yourself a favor and go read the whole thing- it’s excellent, and our good buddy actus makes an appearance, bitching about the tax cuts.