Patterico's Pontifications


Patterico Media Appearances

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:59 am

Jonathan V. Last in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The near unanimity of conservative thinkers against the Miers appointment shows that conservatives are willing to stand on principle. By and large, their opposition has been independent of politics. One could reasonably expect that Miers will vote roughly with Chief Justice John G. Roberts. But the worry from conservatives isn’t that Miers is another David Souter. It’s that they think the Supreme Court deserves better than a serial flatterer who earnestly tells people Bush was “the best governor ever” and “the most brilliant man” she’s ever met, one who “votes right.”

California lawyer and blogger Patrick Frey made this point last week when he argued that “judicial conservatism means knowing the law, inside and out. It’s easy to simply choose a result and build an opinion around it. But to come to the right decision, based on rigorous legal knowledge and backed by a powerful intellect capable of authoring irrefutable judicial opinions – that’s hard.”

Jonathan V. Last is proprietor of the fine blog Galley Slaves, and an editor of the Weekly Standard. The reference is to this post.

And on a CNN segment with Erick Erickson and Lorie Byrd, I was referred to as a “hard-core conservative blogger[]” who is against Miers. The Political Teen has the video. (Thanks to commenter Russ for the heads-up.)

20 Responses to “Patterico Media Appearances”

  1. Wow, Patterico, you’re a great man and deserving of respect.

    Say, um, you’re getting really famous now. When you get your own radio show and you’re as big a blogger as Hugh Hewitt, you’re going to keep me on the blog roll, right?

    Oh, and just wanted to say that I think you’re the most most brilliant man I’ve ever met too.

    Doc Rampage (b7bb1a)

  2. “Stand on principles”?, or on their hurt feelings because they weren’t consulted or their unsolicited advice wasn’t heeded?

    Just because a near unanimity of my undergraduate English professors were opposed to Candididate Reagan doesn’t mean I was going to vote against him.

    William Kristol is not my President.


    furious (2f1a9f)

  3. I agree with Jonathan Last – that Patrick Frey guy has it right. Furthermore, as I see it, it isn’t a particular voting result we’re looking for, it’s the guiding philosophy that results in an interpretation of the constitution pretty much along the lines intended by the founding fathers, and as subsequently amended by the people. This presupposes any “litmus” test of a vote on any particular issue, whether I, as a conservative, might applaud the result of the vote or not.

    It also renders meaningless whether Ms Miers is a woman of particular religious beliefs or not, though I might even agree completely with her beliefs, and probably do. If Ms Miers articulates an “orginianlist” philosophy during the confirmation hearings, I would be inclinded to support her approval, if not, regardless of the political consequences, I would not.

    Personally, not being a lawyer, my common sense tells me that Justice Roberts got it right when he suggested that the job of a justice is to be an umpire regarding the application of the law.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  4. Patterico et al,

    A question that I find many of those opposed to Miers seem to dodge, but I think it a good one:

    Presuming that you, as president, did not believe you could win a fb fight, would you then nominate a Squish candidate or a Stealth one? Those would seem to be your remaining alternatives.

    When answering, please don’t argue the presumption. Sure, it’s debatable: in fact, I myself think a fb fight, tho difficult, could be won. But Bush apparently disagrees. In any event, proper analysis requires dealing with all realistic contingencies, and this definitely qualifies.

    The significance of course is that if Bush believes it, correctly or otherwise, it changes everything in terms of what your own most effective response should be to the HM nomination. There’s a world of diff between disagreeing with someone on tactics a.o.t. goals.

    Oh, and if you like, here’s a 2nd q. Which of the following would you prefer?

    a) Bush withdraws Miers tomorrow; or

    b) Miers turns out to be a strong and articulate constructionist, and moreover, she consistently testifies at her hearings along the lines of “Clarence Thomas is the most brilliant Justice ever. I plan to be just like him” etc., thereby forcing a fb fight that the D’s would lose.

    [BTW, I don’t actually think HM was nominated as a stalking horse as in b) above, but it’s certainly an intriguing opportunity once she gets past Specter in committee]

    Lastly, I agree that you should want more than correct votes from a Justice. I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that the reason for a decision is the real precedent, not the decision itself.

    For ex, if I shoot a woman who’s pointing a gun at me, the court might decide on whether or not to acquit me. If they say “self-defence” that’s a good precedent. If they say “of course a man can shoot a woman anytime” it’s a bad one. Same vote, different reasons. The pt about wanting correct reasoning, as well as correct votes, is well taken and deserves further consideration.

    ras (f9de13)

  5. ras,

    Best regards, but you presume too much. There’s no need to stack the deck. Why not skip all the conjecture and second guessing and simply say we want an intelligent nominee of great personal and professional integrity with a distinguished record of appropriate experience. That’s not asking too much of a SCOTUS nominee.

    It would also help if the nominee could read and write the English language reasonably well, understood the proposition A equals A, liked detail work, and was an independent thinker.

    I’m sorry, but GWB’s crony doesn’t qualify, and calls for the faithful to support her based on loyalty to the GOP or to the President fall on deaf ears.

    Nominations to SCOTUS are a matter of principle, and for conservatives principle takes precedence over personalities and over politics. Some things are worth fighting for and this is a big one.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  6. Black Jack,

    I do not doubt your goals or your heart. I do however q the analysis on which your tactics are based.

    If your ultimate aim is to improve the judiciary, it can only be productive to analyze all realistic contingencies, including those that might contradict your current approach.

    Given that Bush has been unable to garner enough Senate support in the past to end the fb, the idea that he might still not have enough in the present is quite reasonable, and deserves consideration, esp given that this is a “changes everything” contingency.

    With respect, the q stands, as does the observation in my opening sentence to that same comment.

    ras (f9de13)

  7. BlackJack,

    BTW, I should also note that the q is a generic one, regardless of whther we speak of Miers or Clement or any other nominee not on your A-List. Please no not confuse the particular with the generic; my q clearly stated that it concerns the latter, and is unrelated to any specific nominee.

    ras (f9de13)

  8. “Presuming that you, as president, did not believe you could win a fb fight, would you then nominate a Squish candidate or a Stealth one? Those would seem to be your remaining alternatives.”

    OK ras, but those aren’t the only alternatives. As President (thanks, I sure like that part), I would nominate the best qualified individual I could find (see my list of qualities above), then fight for confirmation.

    If opponents resorted to filibuster I would use the “bully pulpit” to open a dialogue with the American people on both the quality of the nominee, and on why some Senators refuse to allow an up or down vote.

    I’d be on TV every day explaining my position and asking interested citizens to weigh in, contact their representatives and express themselves unambiguously. I’d also ask Senators opposed to my nominee to join me and give their reasons for opposing candidate X. Let the sun shine in, so to speak. Actually, let the American voters see their elected leaders at work.

    That happy debate would serve to expose the issues which presently divide us, offer an opportunity to confront them directly, resolve the immediate SCOTUS issue, and ultimately it would serve to strengthen the Republic. I could live with the results.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  9. Black Jack,

    Great answer! I say that, um, cuz it’s just what I would do, too (speaking modestly, of course!)

    But … mine was a contingency q: what if, in spite of your best efforts, you find that simply can’t break the fb, and the D’s successfully fb any candidate who’s not at least a squish, as they have been doing for years now?

    It’s a realistic contingency to be prepared for, given that it’s also the current scenario.

    Squish or Stealth?

    ras (f9de13)

  10. Black Jack,

    Note that if Bush actually buys into the presumption – again, given years of successful D fb’ing, a reasonable one – it changes everything.

    Cuz it’d mean that the anti-HM crowd – and let’s further presume that she’s a weak nominee, doesn’t matter – is shooting the messenger. They attack Bush and HM, rather than focus their anger and efforts where it’s really needed: directly and solely on the Senate.

    The net effect of attacking the wrong target would be to weaken Bush, the one who in spite of the fb is at least trying to bring you the most conservative candidate he can under the circumstances, and to strengthen the RINOs and D’s who want just the opposite. Big oops if true. Good intentions and all that.

    So … Squish or Stealth?

    ras (f9de13)

  11. ras, the problem with this nomination is that we’ll never know what might have been accomplished because the president didn’t even try. I believe Black Jack has it right. If it’s important enough, and it is, you pick the very best then go to the mat for your pick and let the American public weigh in with their elected representatives.

    Bush is already acting like he’s a lame duck. If he acts that way long enough, it is sure to be self-fulfilling and we’ll have the better part of 3 more years to accomplish – nothing.

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  12. Harry Arthur,

    Bush didn’t try? Tell that to Estrada, who fought alongside Bush on the same issue till his health gave way and his wife killed herself.

    In any event, tho I too favor fighting the fb, the q is – I repeat – proper contingency planning nonetheless.

    Presuming the D’s are gonna be able to successfully fb any known conservative/constructionist that you put in front of them, do you then go Squish or Stealth?

    ras (f9de13)

  13. What does all this have to do with me, and how great I am? Doc Rampage had the right idea . . .

    Patterico (2034bc)

  14. Patterico,

    Some things are just so crystal clear that no more discussion is needed, so we moved on :)

    ras (f9de13)

  15. Patterico,

    BTW, I would be interested, in any thread, to your own answer to the Squish or Stealth contingency q.

    ras (f9de13)

  16. I hear the same thing in almost every argument.
    She is not smart enough and opponents are standing on principle. I find both slightly insulting.

    Ras, wish you would add my question to your list. What is the difference between organized resistence to Miers and Gang of 14?

    owl (56acff)

  17. Pattrico, you are great and so is your blog.

    Now, can some of us also be great too, you know, just a little bit great, sort of like helpers, so we can catch some of your overflow. Not too much, of course, not close enough to cast a shadow or anything like that, getting too near the sun can have adverse consequences.

    And, ras, I’ll get back to you and the SCOTUS debate after Monday Night Football. Perspective and all that, don’t ya know.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  18. ras,

    I accept your initial condition, “Presuming that you, as president, did not believe you could win a fb fight, would you then nominate a Squish candidate or a Stealth one? Those would seem to be your remaining alternatives.”

    Fine, so far. But, in your haste to make it an either/or situation, perhaps there’s an option you neglect. My possible alternatives are not limited to Squish or Stealth if I’m willing to fight it out in the Senate and take my chances, win or lose.

    If I’m willing to lose the fight, I can fulfill my promise to nominate someone like Scalia or Thomas and expose the opposition for who and what they are, at exactly the right time just before the 2006 campaign cycle gets underway. You gotta admit the notion has a certain appeal, if only to the dark side.

    Such a fight would not only unify and energize my base, it would also demoralize and split the Dems. That’s my kind of fight.

    So, if I were President, I would nominate someone with exceptional credentials and throw down the gauntlet. Let the chips fall where they may. I’ll admit it isn’t something the hand wringers would welcome, but it sure would make this old dog stand up and bark.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  19. Black Jack,

    So your answer is that you would knowingly nominate non-confirmable candidates?

    Geez, I actually do like that approach emotionally, but in the same way I’d be willing to punch an NFL lineman in the nose if he ticked me off. Feels great at first. Remember what it did to Estrada and his wife tho, and all for naught.

    [Weird MNF game this week. By the end, I felt like I was watching the Colts first-string scrimmage against their second.]

    ras (f9de13)

  20. No, ras, my answer is that I would nominate the best individual I could find and fight for confirmation. Why burden the selection by prejudging the results? That’s why we play ball, we can’t really know who wins if we’re unwilling to come out, toe the line, and play the game.

    Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, and sometimes the favorite gets upset. And, sometimes the consequences of a loss are very things which motivate us to win nest time.

    It’s called optimism and for me, the glass is always half full. And, since in your cook, you made me POTUS, it’s my decision and you’re just going to have to like it, or lump it, or carp about it. That’s up to you, but my decision is made. And that, my friend, is hard cheese.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

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