Monday, October 10, 2005

Republicans Failing Their President, Party And Country

Conservatives opposing the president's pick for SCOTUS are wrong and self-destructive.

They variously claim that Harriet Miers is not qualified and not a good conservative, and that the President cannot be trusted to select good people. Let's look at these objections.

Qualifications for SCOTUS

George Turner at Rottweiler says it best:

We have one of the simplest constitutions in the world, written in plain English and readable by small children.
A clever, nay, a brilliant legal mind is the worst long-term guardian of our G-d given rights that can be imagined. The Constitution is a contract originally made by a rebellious people who burned lawyers in effigy, and we want the terms of that contract judged by people that read it with no more cleverness than they did – and that we do.

The problem with SCOTUS is not lack of legal expertize, but the despotism of the majority of its members - most recently demonstrated in its Kelo ruling.

Every adult knows that the property rights are the ancient basis of our free societies, and that abrogating them is an entirely new principal and not a reading of the Constitution. Legal expertize came into play only in the attempts of the majority to justify its decision.

In other bizarre decisions, the SCOTUS majority has invented new laws that are clearly in breach of the Constitution - privacy trumping public mores on sodomy in the Texas, international laws trumping US laws on the death penalty, and of course Roe v Wade. There are cases to be made for all these laws, but under the US Constitution laws are created by elected legislatures, not by unelected judges.

So, SCOTUS needs intelligent, sensible and decent people who respect the Constitution. The last thing it needs is more legal knaves.

Conservative Mindset

It only makes sense for conservatives to pick conservatives for SCOTUS if they stay conservative when they have their jobs-for-life.

The problem is that almost half do not - of the seven current members of SCOTUS appointed by Republican presidents, three (Stevens, Kennedy, Souter) voted for Kelo.

So choosing a new member of SCOTUS is akin to a school board hiring a new teacher after almost 50% of their previous hires turned out to be pedophiles - they go for somebody they've known for many years and who they know for sure is not a pedophile or likely to become one.

This is what the president has done. Possibly Miers may have views that are not 100% conservative but he knows those views and he's sure that she's not going to change them once she has tenure. That's a good hiring decision.

The President's Judgment

President Bush has done a very good job when he's appointed people he's known well - Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice are all strong and competent people who history will remember. I know of no failures in the wider group of his "known" appointees.

So in choosing Miers, the President is continuing a winning hiring policy.


All of the above is pretty obvious, so why are the Senate and conservative commentators restless?

Some think the President is damaged and are just piling on. Which is a shame for them, because he is no more damaged than Reagan was at exactly the same point in his second term (remember Iran-Contra?). The damage is apparent, not real - the US has won in Iraq and the Katrina Kerfuffle has become an indictment of Democratic government and MSM lies.

The other cause is simple ignorance - US senators live off an incumbent-support system and, like journos, have little real-world experience of building teams and selecting good people.

Still, if these folks succeed in blocking Miers, the President and Republican party will indeed be wounded, which will hurt them in 06 and 08 - just as nothing succeeds like success, nothing fails like failure!