Patterico's Pontifications


Do You Want the Good News First, or the Bad News?

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:30 pm

If you’re like me, you always want the bad news first.

Bad News: Harriet Miers is not a member of the Federalist Society.

Good News: Unlike John Roberts, Miers is unlikely to ever be confused about her possible membership:

WASHINGTON – In what appear to be some of her only public statements about a constitutional issue, Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers testified in a 1990 voting rights lawsuit that the Dallas City Council had too few black and Hispanic members, and that increasing minority representation should be a goal of any change in the city’s political structure.

In the same testimony, Miers, then a member of the council, said she believed that the city should divest its South African financial holdings and work to boost economic development in poor and minority areas. She also said she “wouldn’t belong to the Federalist Society” or other “politically charged” groups because they “seem to color your view one way or another.”

So, in addition to “Damn Republicans!” you can add: “Damn Federalist Society!”

P.S. Luckily, the ABA is not a “politically charged group” — sort of like the non-politically-charged mainstream media.

The more you learn, the more you like, huh?

Miers: How to Fight Those Lawyer-Bashing Republicans

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

From a January 1993 article in the Texas Bar Journal by Harriet Miers:

In his October [1992] Opinion in this Journal my colleague, TYLA President Steve Martin, artfully assailed the Republican administration for seizing “the perceived low public regard for lawyers to fashion a campaign strategy based on the disparagement of lawyers.” Lawyers, in large number, want the State Bar and other organizations to “fight back.”

(My emphasis.)

The rest of the article is devoted to explaining how the State Bar can help find an “antidote” for “lawyer bashing.”

Damn lawyer-bashing Republicans!

Damage is Being Done

Filed under: Judiciary — Angry Clam @ 6:41 am

[Posted by The Angry Clam]

Some of you might remember the futures market fad that surrounded the last election, where people were using it to sort out what the hundreds of polls in various states meant.

Well, Tradesports didn’t disappear after the election, although it did spin off its current events markets to a separate website,

I went over there to keep an eye out on the Miers confirmation futures. They started trading at around 94 points (a point is ten cents, so this is $9.40 for a contract that pays out $10.00 if it occurs… think of it like a percentage estimate of the event happening).

Now, her confirmation futures are trading around 70 points. Still not good, but it shows that there is some uncertainty out there at this point that she’ll be confirmed.

Bear in mind, though, that these are small volume markets, and perhaps not as representative as a broader one would be. Still it makes me happy to see that some people think that there is a chance we could sink this abomination.

— The Angry Clam

Brownback Might Vote Against Miers

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:21 am

Wow. The L.A. Times reports that, while Sen. Sam Brownback hasn’t decided that he is opposing Miers, he is seriously considering it:

[I]t was a slap in the face to the White House when Brownback, after three days of lobbying by White House aides to persuade leaders among evangelical conservatives to support Supreme Court nominee Harriet E. Miers, emerged from an hourlong meeting with her Thursday and said he was prepared to vote against her.

“I still think there’s a lot to learn about this nominee,” Brownback said, citing doubts about Miers’ positions on issues such as abortion and gay marriage. “I must do my own due diligence, and I can’t say that all these issues are overcome in a one-hour meeting.”

Asked if he was prepared to vote against Miers, Brownback said: “Yes.”

Asked if he was prepared to vote against her even if President Bush pleaded with him directly, Brownback replied: “Yes.”


So: naming a candidate that splits your party in half — is that part of the vaunted MOOSEMUSS strategy?

Just askin’.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt correctly complains about the spin of the L.A. Times story. He points to his interview with Brownback, and says:

In this interview, as with all the interviews he did yesterday, Brownback conveys caution and the possibility that he could vote against Miers, along with the possibility that he might vote for her. That position didn’t serve the Times’ agenda, so they chapped his exchanges up until they found a grabber.

Nice work, that, but don’t call it reporting.

Hugh has a good point. The Times‘s phraseology — saying that Brownback is “prepared to vote against” Miers — suggests that Brownback has already made up his mind. You have to read the story carefully to see that this is not so. That is why I was careful at the beginning of this post to note that Brownback has not made up his mind — so that my readers would not be misled the way some L.A. Times readers undoubtedly were.

But Hugh also should not underestimate the significance of Brownback’s statement. The fact that Brownback is willing to publicly acknowledge his reservations about the Miers nomination — and to say that his opposition could hold even in the face of a personal appeal from Bush — is significant. It shows that he is seriously considering voting against her — an indication that this nomination will be in trouble if the Administration does not provide solid information to assuage the concerns of conservatives like Brownback.

Finally, Some Real Information on Miers: Her Writing

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 12:00 am

Via Jim Lindgren at Volokh comes this link to a collection of Harriet Miers’s writing. I am going to bed and haven’t looked at any of it, but here is Lindgren’s analysis:

I have read about a half dozen of Miers’ pieces so far–nothing particularly good or bad about any of them. They are pretty standard practitioner fare, apparently fully competent, but seemingly no better or worse than a thousand lawyers at good firms in Chicago would do. There is none of the flair that showed in many of Roberts’ memos in the Reagan Administration. I’ve read nothing intellectually substantial by Miers so far, but then I’ve just started working through the list. If she has any sharp analytical skills, they are not apparent in the pieces I’ve read. Given Miers’ genuine success in practice, I suspect that she is a better advisor and negotiator than writer.

That’s okay. I have little doubt that the Miers defenders will soon tell us that it’s not important for a Supreme Court Justice to be a good writer. They have law clerks to draft their opinions, after all; the important thing is the vote, not the writing; do you want someone who’s good at grammar or someone who’s good for the country; stop being an elitist. Etc.

Just watch.

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