Pity The RNC For Having To Defend The Miers Nomination Travesty

Pity — and I mean that — the poor people at the Republican National Committee that have been tasked with trying to find positive articles to send out about the increasingly ludicrous Miers nomination.

Today, they’ve sent out two Miers-related releases and both of them were noteworthy primarily because they were so lukewarm in their praise of Miers.

The first one was an article from Vincent Johnson at USA Today that lauds Miers not for excellence, not because she’d be the best person for the job, but because she loves the poor, favors diversity, promoted civility, and cared about her community.

This is the case that they’ve been reduced to making for why Harriet Miers should be on the Supreme Court.

The 2nd article the RNC sent out is a piece by Kenneth Star and Ronald A. Cass that was published in the WSJ.

Now the article the RNC sent out is, by my count, 776 words long. Out of the entire article, here’s the only praise for Miers that’s found therein:

“Business organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which alone represents over three million business enterprises, have praised Harriet Miers’s nomination. They — and we — value her significant experience in business law. Certainly, this is not the only consideration in her confirmation process, but the inevitable attention to other, politically charged issues should not obscure the importance of business expertise to the court and ultimately to the nation.”

So now we can add to the fact that Harriet Miers has “experience in business law” to her other fine qualities, which include liking diversity, poor people, and civility.

Lovely.

On the other hand, here’s a reaction from some people who aren’t required to toe the White House line on the nomination:

“Barely concealing their irritation during a 35-minute news conference at the Capitol, Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and ranking Democrat Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) called the lobbying on Miers’s behalf “chaotic,” and said the answers she provided Monday to a lengthy questionnaire were inadequate. “The comments I have heard range from incomplete to insulting,” Leahy said. They sent Miers a three-page letter asking for more detailed responses in several areas, and Specter said he has asked the Bush administration for more documents concerning her work as White House counsel. Specter said Miers must provide “amplification on many, many of the items” included in the first questionnaire.

Miers quickly replied, writing that she would comply with the new request. She also wrote that “as a result of an administrative oversight,” her Texas law license was suspended for 26 days in 1989 because of unpaid dues. On Monday, Miers disclosed that her D.C. law license was briefly suspended last year because of unpaid annual dues.

…Meanwhile, several constitutional law scholars said they were surprised and puzzled by Miers’s response to the committee’s request for information on cases she has handled dealing with constitutional issues. In describing one matter on the Dallas City Council, Miers referred to “the proportional representation requirement of the Equal Protection Clause” as it relates to the Voting Rights Act.

“There is no proportional representation requirement in the Equal Protection Clause,” said Cass R. Sunstein, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. He and several other scholars said it appeared that Miers was confusing proportional representation — which typically deals with ethnic groups having members on elected bodies — with the one-man, one-vote Supreme Court ruling that requires, for example, legislative districts to have equal populations.

…Senators and aides have been reluctant to provide details of their meetings with Miers because they do not want to antagonize the White House. But some described her as surprisingly reticent and, in a word used by more than one of them, “underwhelming.”

Even those who were impressed said that she offered up little of herself in conversation. “In these meetings she has been very guarded,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

One senator found her much too quiet. The lawmaker had such a hard time hearing Miers that aides had to tell people outside the meeting room to quiet down.

“She doesn’t have the gravitas in terms of the constitutional issues,” said another senator who has been critical of Miers. The nominee, the senator said, would not answer questions about whether she would recuse herself if issues involving her work with Bush came before the high court.

“Generally when you hold these interviews, people want to show you what they know,” the senator said. “She did not respond. Nothing came back.”

It’s fantastic that Harriet Miers loves civility and has experience with business law, but if she’s “underwhelming” and doesn’t even understand the Equal Protection Clause, does it really matter? This whole nomination has been a slow motion train wreck from start to finish and we still have at least a month to go. For the love of God, somebody in the White House, please, please, try to talk Bush or Harriet Miers into withdrawing this nomination for the President and the Party…

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