The Problem With The “Wait & See” Approach On Miers

by John Hawkins | October 6, 2005 9:31 am

The Anchoress, who I think is an excellent blogger even if I strongly disagree with her take on Miers, tells conservatives to wait for Miers’ “job interview” before they make a decision about her[1].

“This woman has not even had the opportunity to appear before the Judiciary committee so that we can all get a sense of her, before she is either confirmed or dumped.

…The president has named a nominee. She will now have to sink or swim at her own “job interview.” If she is the incompetent boob, “cafeteria lady” some of you vaunt, she will embarrass herself and be rejected. If she is the “pitbull in size 6 shoes” the president characterizes, she will impress enough people to be appointed.”

Here’s the problem with that sort of thinking: we’re not going to learn anything about the candidate at the “job interview.”

Things she may have said or written as a lawyer? It doesn’t mean anything because she’s taking a position for a client. Her time in the White House? Bush is citing executive privilege and saying he won’t release any documents she wrote in the White House[2]. What about future rulings on important cases like Roe v. Wade or Kelo v. New London? She won’t talk about those cases on the grounds that she may have to rule on them as a Supreme Court justice.

So unless there’s the equivalent of an Anita Hill hiding in the wings or Miers completely cracks under the pressure, we won’t learn much about Miers at the hearings. In other words, it’ll be a Rorschach test. There will be a lot of long speeches from Senators, some hostile questions, Miers will dodge them all, and then people will look at the inkblots and see what they want to see.

That was acceptable for a candidate like Roberts. Although he may not have had a long enough track record for many people’s tastes, he was universally regarded as an absolutely brilliant lawyer and there were a few encouraging legal tidbits conservatives got to see from his time in the Reagan administration and on the bench. Moreover, before the nomination, Roberts was considered to be a highly regarded, top tier candidate.

On the other hand, Harriet Miers is feather light in the qualifications department compared to the other nominees that were being seriously considered. There was no one on the right before her nomination that considered her to be a great candidate and, quite frankly, few of the conservatives backing her today seem terribly enthusiastic about it.

As if that wasn’t enough, while John Roberts was building his conservative pedigree up in the Reagan administration, Harriet Miers was apparently still a Democrat. While there’s nothing wrong with selecting an ex-Democrat for the Supreme Court per se, it does create a bit of nagging doubt about how reliable of a conservative vote she’ll be. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a woman who was making campaign contributions to Al Gore and the DNC when she was over 40 years old. Now, we’re supposed to believe she’s another Scalia even though we know very little about her personal views on the issues?

Is Miers really a candidate conservatives can be confident in based on nothing more than Bush’s say so and a few non-answers at a confirmation hearing? The answer to that question should be, “no.”

*** The next to last paragraph has been edited slightly from the original version. ***

  1. wait for Miers’ “job interview” before they make a decision about her:
  2. release any documents she wrote in the White House:

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