Monday, October 24, 2005

These guys are lawyers?

The Powerline boys, those serial bloviators, have weighed in several times in favor of the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. In a recent post, Owly Paul said:
John and I agree that, as things stand now, conservative Senators should not vote against Miers. On the current record, she appears to be a qualified center-right nominee. As such, the president has the right, under all prior serious thinking of which I'm aware, to have her confirmed.
Uh, Paul, the divine right of kings has been eroding since say, 1215. The president has powers and responsibilities, set forth in Article II of the Constitution, but it is the people - who elected George Bush for better or worse - who have rights. Here are a few things Alexander Hamilton said about the appointment and confirmation of Supreme Court Justices:
... the necessity of their [the Senate’s] concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.

The danger to his own [the President’s] reputation, and, in the case of an elective magistrate, to his political existence, from betraying a spirit of favoritism, or an unbecoming pursuit of popularity, to the observation of a body whose opinion would have great weight in forming that of the public, could not fail to operate as a barrier to the one and to the other.
And here’s a zinger:
He [the President] would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.
Let’s see, Miers is from Texas; she is certainly personally allied to Bush, and when you consider the adolescent fan mail she has sent to Bush over the years, Spotty says she is also the “obsequious instrument of his pleasure.” Wow, do you think that Alex had Harriet specifically in mind?

Much has also been made of Miers evangelical Christian credentials in support of her confirmation. Of course, the Constitution speaks to that too, in Article 6:
Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Spotty says the drafters of the Constitution were very wary of religious ideologues. Bush apparently though he could get a stealth cipher through confirmation, but that looks less and less likely.

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