Patterico's Pontifications


John Fund Changes His Mind on Miers

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 2:31 pm

John Fund has changed his mind about Harriet Miers. His piece reinforces everything I have been saying here for days. His article is too good to excerpt with justice, so read it all. But I’ll put my favorite parts in the extended entry, to whet your appetite.

I have changed my mind about Harriet Miers. Last Thursday, I wrote in OpinionJournal’s Political Diary that “while skepticism of Ms. Miers is justified, the time is fast approaching when such expressions should be muted until the Senate hearings begin. At that point, Ms. Miers will finally be able to speak for herself.”

But that was before I interviewed more than a dozen of her friends and colleagues along with political players in Texas. I came away convinced that questions about Ms. Miers should be raised now–and loudly–because she has spent her entire life avoiding giving a clear picture of herself. “She is unrevealing to the point that it’s an obsession,” says one of her close colleagues at her law firm.

Fund notes the same thing I noted in this post about Miers’s lack of people skills:

Reactions to her from her former colleagues were mixed. Craig McDaniel, a liberal council member, praises her ability to get along with diverse groups of people and tells the Dallas Voice, a gay newspaper, “This is as good as we would ever get out of a Republican administration.” Jerry Bartos, a conservative council colleague, rated her effectiveness at “zero” and called her “the consummate loner.” But Sharon Boyd, a longtime friend and GOP activist, says many conservatives resented her solely because she had remained a Democrat until 1988. Ms. Boyd calls Ms. Miers’s record on the council “very conservative.” Yet when pressed for examples, she could only offer Ms. Miers’s opposition to civil unions for gays and support for a constitutional amendment against flag burning.

and what I said in the same post about her indecisiveness:

On other issues, Ms. Miers’s record is one of initially supporting a conservative position and then abandoning it. She started out backing a plan to redistrict the City Council that had received the endorsement of two-thirds of Dallas voters in a 1989 referendum. When it appeared that plan would lose a court case on account of its alleged effect on minority representation, she backed a plan for single-member districts supported by liberals. “I formally debated her on the issue,” recalls Tom Pauken, a former chairman of the Texas Republican Party. “She was a liberal then. I don’t know about today, but in the last week all the liberals who’ve been on the council have been singing her praises.”

Similarly, Ms. Miers was originally part of a council majority that urged Congress to repeal the Wright Amendment, a law that restricts flights from Dallas Love Field. Southwest Airlines and free-market advocates had long attacked the restriction as favoritism toward American Airlines, which has a hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International. Ms. Miers reversed her position after 10 months and sponsored a resolution in favor of the Wright Amendment. She called her move “a triumph of reason over rhetoric” and cited two studies that claimed flying more planes out of Love would lead to traffic congestion. Most aviation experts dispute that conclusion.

Finally, a 1990 budget crunch forced the Dallas City Council to consider a property tax increase–its third in four years. Ms. Miers initially resisted the tax increase, then came around to the view that a property tax hike would be the fairest. The key vote came when the council voted 6-5 to add $900,000 to the budget proposed by the city manager as part of a 7% increase in the tax rate. Ms. Miers cast the deciding vote. Mr. Bartos, who had proposed an alternate plan for 5% across-the-board spending cuts on all departments except the police, was bitter that almost all of the proposed $900,000 budget increase was slated for library and arts funding rather than public safety.

There’s lots more, some of it more compelling than others, but on the whole very distressing — especially when taken together with all the other evidence I have been discussing here for days.

Again, read it all.

8 Responses to “John Fund Changes His Mind on Miers”

  1. Back in the Saddle

    Today’s dose of NIF – News, Interesting & Funny … Finally blogging again Monday

    NIF (59ce3a)

  2. What is especially funny is that Miers supporters actually think that the confirmation hearings could actually tell us something substantive about how she would be as a judge. I have never witnessed a Post-Bork Supreme Court confirmation hearing that has done that. Have you?

    Justin Levine (f341b1)

  3. Well, there was the short lived nomination of Slavey McLynchemal.

    Surprised that didn’t get more press…considering…

    Christopher Cross (354863)

  4. What is especially funny is that Miers supporters actually think that the confirmation hearings could actually tell us something substantive about how she would be as a judge. I have never witnessed a Post-Bork Supreme Court confirmation hearing that has done that. Have you?

    Um, yeah. You see, there’s this guy on the Supreme Court right now named John Roberts. You may have heard of him.

    Xrlq (428dfd)

  5. Yeah, his hearings told us something — but not much. Mostly they told us he handles himself well on TV. I’m not quite sure that’s what Justin meant.

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  6. I think the Bork hearings were very good.

    Especially since I found out he calls the IXth Amendment an ink blot and not enforceable.

    Talk about legislating from the bench. That Bork is a beaut.

    M. Simon (15c61c)

  7. More nominees ought to get Borked.

    The good ones will survive.

    M. Simon (15c61c)

  8. The Wright Amendment flip-flop is particulary worrisome. American Airlines makes a kings ransom off of its DFW monopoly, and its money finds its ways into all sorts of “interesting” places.

    Just next week, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is going to be participating in a Senate hearing on the Wright Amendment’s DFW Airport monopoly.

    And who is DFW Airport’s attorney? Sen. Hutchison’s husband, Ray Hutchison.

    Hector Ramirez (c2f2d0)

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