Patterico's Pontifications


Praise for Miers’s Lawyering

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 2:33 pm

Nice praise for Miers’s lawyering in the Washington Post:

Mike Miller, a lawyer from East Texas, described the feeling when he learned Miers had entered his case — a class-action suit of car buyers against Texas automobile dealers. Miers was representing the dealers.

“It was mixed,” he said. “It’s like seeing your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand-new Mercedes. There are advantages. You don’t have to worry about someone lying to you. You are not going to fight over anything that’s a waste of time. The issues won’t be frivolous. But you know you’re in for a fight.

That’s an impressive compliment.

UPDATE: I should have noted that I found this through K-Lo at Bench Memos. Beldar claims in the comments here that K-Lo quoted the material as though it was dismissive of Miers, which I don’t see . . . she merely called it the quote of the day and otherwise quoted it with minimal commentary.

How Beldar could have seen my post (which is clearly complimentary) as even potentially snarky, I have no idea — other than as a reflexive (and no doubt subconscious) imputation of bad motives to Miers opponents. Sometimes we’re just giving the other side, dude. After all, I figure she’s going to be confirmed, so (believe it or not) I want her to be everything you and Hewitt claim she is.

Also: I don’t see this compliment as qualifying her for the Supreme Court. But I figured everyone already knew that, so I thought for once that I’d just say something nice without qualification. Naturally, therefore, it has to be seen as sarcastic.

12 Responses to “Praise for Miers’s Lawyering”

  1. In other words, she’s (a) ethical and (b) skillful. Just like you, Patterico.


    Allah (cc4e8d)

  2. I don’t want to dismiss everything anyone says in support of Miers now, just because it’s taken about two weeks to dig it up, but come on, it’s taken two weeks to dig this stuff up! And that she’s a very good lawyer who’s honest and ethical isn’t among the issues anyone has with her nomination.

    I’m also impressed by Miller’s praise of Miers. If I ever need someone to preside over a state bar association or defend me in a class action suit, I would certainly put Miers on the short list. But just in case I missed it, please tell me again what this says about her judicial philosophy?

    [crickets . . . ]

    Karl Rove (6128b4)

  3. I just keep waiting for people who have seen her in court or read her briefs to describe her with adjectives better than “well-prepared” or “competent”. Her years in private practice are the core of her qualifications for the Court, and yet (in marked contrast to Roberts) nobody describes her in terms that suggest a genuinely outstanding practitioner.

    Crank (3fed2a)

  4. No one will answer my question: if Miers was so darn good, why didn’t Dubya nominate her to the Texas Supreme Court? She was just as impressive then, presumably.

    piper1 (ef0643)

  5. He had other cronies, like Alberto Gonzales, who also needed a hookup.

    Angry Clam (a7c6b1)

  6. Just wondering … Do you think Mike Miller is divorced (or about to be)?

    Deborah (15ed57)

  7. Heh.

    Patterico (adeded)

  8. I’m not sure if this post was intended to be snarky, but it actually is an impressive compliment, coming from one of Ms. Miers’ opponents. K-Lo quoted it over on Bench Memos as if it were somehow dismissive of Ms. Miers. It’s not. It basically says she’s not a chicken-s**t, which is among the most meaningful praise I ever give any lawyer, and that he saw the value of his case plummet specifically because of her involvement.

    I also liked the compliment in the same article from my law school ethics prof Sandy Levinson, another lawyer she’s whipped in court, who said “The only thing to infer from this [case] is that she’s a good lawyer.” I’d say that’s fairly meaningful, since he’s a nationally recognized con-law specialist, it was a con-law case, and the outcome of the 2000 election would have been reversed if she’d lost it.

    Crank: You must be reading too many back covers of mass-market paperback books. If the press quoted over-the-top assessments of her accomplishments and capabilities, her critics would mock that. At what point does consistency of the reviews make an impression on you? Or do you insist on flashy in addition to solid? (Flashy scares me. Gerry Spence is flashy; Alan Dershowitz is flashy.)

    Clam: You’re making it very hard for me to keep my promise, but I’m still trying. If you’re trying to hold anything back in your character assassination, that’s not obvious.

    “Rove”: Professional competency and character are important. It’s not all about judicial philosophy, and some folks [cough] aren’t as enlightened as you — they’re still arguing that she has no credentials, that she’s nothing but a crony.

    Piper1: My guess, but I think it’s a pretty good one: By the time the first Texas Supreme Court opening occured, she was already committed to other public service — cleaning up the Texas Lottery, which is responsible for $7 billion in revenues that have gone to Texas public schools. The Texas Supreme Court was already in pretty decent shape by the time Dubya became governor, but $7 billion doesn’t grow on trees.

    Allah: Ditto. Or if not SCOTUS, editor-in-chief of the LA Times.

    Beldar (aa0fa1)

  9. I’m not sure if this post was intended to be snarky, but it actually is an impressive compliment, coming from one of Ms. Miers’ opponents.

    Jeez Louise. No, it was not intended to be snarky. I thought it was an impressive compliment, and I thought I’d share it. It shows that at least one person thought Miers lawyered the way the Supreme Court says prosecutors should lawyer: strike hard blows, but fair ones.

    Patterico (adeded)

  10. Thanks for the clarification, Patterico. It still leaves me puzzled about K-Lo’s reaction (and that’s of course not your fault! just ‘splains why I was maybe overinclined to presume snark), but that’s not the first time K-Lo has left me a bit puzzled.

    Beldar (91d82d)

  11. I accept that your post wasn’t intended to be snarky.

    K-Lo’s, I still think, was. But if she cares to make the effort to persuade anyone otherwise, I’ll gladly listen, because I do think she’s a very bright and often very funny pundit.

    Beldar (49c586)

  12. Beldar – I’ve seen lawyers I’d describe as brilliant, in the way that John Roberts has been described almost uniformly by observers. And I’ve seen lawyers I’d describe as just competent and hard-working. And I know which of the two I’d rather have leading my legal team in a big case.

    Should the standard be lower for SCOTUS?

    (As for Dershowitz, he really is that brilliant. There are many reasons you wouldn’t want Alan Dershowitz on the Supreme Court, but lack of qualification is not one of them. Spence, by contrast, is pretty much the embodiment of the rule that success in private practice does not equal a great legal mind suitable for life as an appeals court judge).

    Crank (3fed2a)

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