A Week-End’s Worth Of Quotes On The Miers Nomination

The political bombs are now dropping down on the Miers nomination so quickly that a single “quote of the day” just isn’t enough to cover it.

First of all, remember how Harriet Miers botched a question about the equal protection clause in the questionnaire she sent to the Senate? Well, here’s some more scathing commentary on how big a screw-up it was:

“At one point, Miers described her service on the Dallas City Council in 1989. When the city was sued on allegations that it violated the Voting Rights Act, she said, “the council had to be sure to comply with the proportional representation requirement of the Equal Protection Clause.”

But the Supreme Court repeatedly has said the Constitution’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” does not mean that city councils or state legislatures must have the same proportion of blacks, Latinos and Asians as the voting population.

“That’s a terrible answer. There is no proportional representation requirement under the equal protection clause,” said New York University law professor Burt Neuborne, a voting rights expert. “If a first-year law student wrote that and submitted it in class, I would send it back and say it was unacceptable.”

Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, also an expert on voting rights, said she was surprised the White House did not check Miers’ questionnaire before sending it to the Senate.

“Are they trying to set her up? Any halfway competent junior lawyer could have checked the questionnaire and said it cannot go out like that. I find it shocking,” she said.”

So we have a nominee for the Supreme Court making mistakes that a “first-year law student” and a “halfway competent junior lawyer” should have been able to catch. Whatever happened to the GOP being the party of merit? Whatever happened to believing that the cream should rise to the top? If a Democratic President presented a candidate who made this sort of mistake, that nominee would not get a single GOP vote in the Senate. But let a Republican President send up a minimally qualified candidate and you have GOP Senators willing to abandon their principles to vote for her. What an embarrassment!

Speaking of embarrassing, did you read Harriet Miers is a quota queen?? From the WAPO:

“As president of the State Bar of Texas, Harriet Miers wrote that “our legal community must reflect our population as a whole,” and under her leadership the organization embraced racial and gender set-asides and set numerical targets to achieve that goal.

The Supreme Court nominee’s words and actions from the early 1990s, when she held key leadership positions as president-elect and president of the state bar, provide the first window into her personal views on affirmative action, an area in which the Supreme Court is closely divided and where Miers could tip the court’s balance.”

Of course, her supporters who have been trying to convince people that because Harriet Miers is personally pro-life, she will vote against Roe v. Wade. But now, some of those same people are already trying to sell the idea that this doesn’t mean anything. Get that? She’s pro-life, so she’ll vote against Roe v. Wade. But, the fact that she’s pro-Affirmative Action and “racial and gender set-asides” means nothing. Right.

Next, we find that Harriet Miers got a sweetheart deal on some land that doesn’t look to be on the up and up:

“Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers collected nearly 17 times the market value for a slice of family-owned land in a contaminated Superfund site in Dallas where the state wanted to build a highway off-ramp.

The windfall came after a judge who got thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Miers’ law firm appointed a close professional associate of Miers and a partisan property-rights activist to a three-person panel that determined how much the state should pay.

The resulting six-figure payout to the Miers family in 2000 was made over state objections to the ”excessive” amount and the process used to set the price. The panel recommended paying nearly $5 a square foot for land that was valued at less than 30 cents a square foot.”

Maybe there’s more to the story, but you tell me that doesn’t look crooked at first glance. We have a guy who received campaign contributions from Harriet Miers’ law firm appointing a panel, including a “close professional associate” of Harriet Miers, that turned right around and handed out “17 times the market value” on land owned by the Miers family.

Oh, yeah, nothing suspicious going on there.

Meanwhile, the WSJ’s John Fund, who has been neck deep in this story almost from the get-go, is reporting that the White House is basically sending out the message: “Toe the political line on Miers or get buried under it.”

“Many longtime supporters of President Bush have been startled to get phone calls from allies of the president strongly implying that a failure to support Ms. Miers will be unhealthy to their political future. “The message in Texas is, if you aren’t for this nominee, you are against the president,” one conservative leader in that state told me. The pressure has led to more resentment than results.

Similar pressure has been applied in New Hampshire, site of the nation’s first presidential primary in 2008. Newsweek has reported that “when George W. Bush’s political team wanted to send ambitious Republican senators a firm message about Harriet Miers (crude summary: ‘Lay off her if you ever want our help’),” they chose loyal Bush ally and former state attorney general Tom Rath to deliver it. Plans were even launched to confront Virginia’s Sen. George Allen, a likely 2008 candidate for president, and demand he sign a pro-Miers pledge. Luckily, the local Bush forces were warned off such a move at the last minute.

Mr. Rath didn’t return my calls, and local sources say he is laying low now that reporters have uncovered his key role in pushing the nomination of David Souter in 1990. “It was Rath and [then-Sen. Warren] Rudman who convinced [then White House chief of staff] John Sununu to back Souter,” recalls Gordon Humphrey, a former U.S. senator from the Granite State who at the time supported Judge Souter as a member of the Judiciary Committee. The profound disappointment conservatives experienced when Justice Souter, another stealth nominee, veered left is a major reason for the resistance to Harriet Miers.

Another reason for conservative suspicion is that it was Mr. Card, a former moderate Massachusetts state legislator, who pushed the Miers choice. “This is something that Andy and the president cooked up,” a White House adviser told Time magazine. “Andy knew it would appeal to the president because he loves appointing his own people and being supersecret and stealthy about it.” Conservatives still recall that in the White House of the first President Bush, Mr. Card was deputy chief of staff to Mr. Sununu, the prime backer of Judge Souter. Mr. Card told me on Friday that “it would be a complete exaggeration to say I played a role in the Souter selection. I merely supported his nomination as I did all presidential appointments.”

Ed Rollins, the GOP consultant who at the time headed the House Republican Campaign Committee and who was Mr. Card’s boss in the Reagan White House, remembers it differently. “Of course Andy played a role,” he told me. “He was Sununu’s top aide.” Two other aides who served with Mr. Card in the White House told me he was an enthusiastic backer of the Souter selection. “Now that he’s brought us Miers we worry that 15 years later Andy is playing the role of a Serial Souterizer,” one said.”

Won’t you please welcome Harriet Miers, who’s being backed by the, “son of read my lips,” and some of the same people who brought us David Souter. That’s very encouraging!

Also, may I add that if being against the Harriet Miers nomination means being, “against the president,” then I am against the President. I think you can probably put George Will in that same category, too, after his latest column:

“And Democrats, with their zest for gender politics, need this reminder: To give a woman a seat on a crowded bus because she is a woman is gallantry. To give a woman a seat on the Supreme Court because she is a woman is a dereliction of senatorial duty. It also is an affront to mature feminism, which may bridle at gallantry but should recoil from condescension.

As for Republicans, any who vote for Miers will thereafter be ineligible to argue that it is important to elect Republicans because they are conscientious conservers of the judicial branch’s invaluable dignity. Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush’s reckless abuse of presidential discretion — or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such — can never be considered presidential material.”

Conservatives and this country deserved far better from George Bush than Harriet Miers and it’s great to see columnists like George Will who are willing to say so instead of meekly standing on the sidelines. Conservatives did not leave George Bush on judges, he left us, and he deserves every last bit of political punishment that he receives as a result of his irresponsible and unprincipled decision to put Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court.

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