Friday, October 07, 2005

Analysis from WaPo: Why the Right Dislikes Miers

Great editorial in the Post today analyzing just why the Right is so fractured over the Miers nomination. It basically boils down to the fact that they think Bush doesn't have the stomach for a tough political fight over a clearer, hard-right nominee, and that this approach reeks of intellectual dishonesty. I can hardly disagree, even being on the other side of the fence. It really boils down to this, and shows the increasing divide between the evangelical arm of the Republican Party and the more intellectually rigorous side:

"With so much at stake, to many of us it seems ill-advised to nominate somebody that we're then told we should have faith in, when there isn't any evidence of intellectual rigor being applied to these contentious issues," said conservative activist Gary Bauer.

To me, that statement speaks of a strong, fundamental rift in the Republican Party that may drive a wedge into party unity. Let's hope that's the case. Here's more:

Right Sees Miers as Threat to a Dream

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 7, 2005; Page A01

If there has been a unifying cause in American conservatism over the past three decades, it has been a passionate desire to change the Supreme Court. When there were arguments over tax cuts and deficits, when libertarians clashed with religious conservatives, when disputes over foreign policy erupted, reshaping the judiciary bound the movement together.

Until Monday, that is. Now conservatives are in a roiling fight with the White House over President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the high court. They fear that the president may have jeopardized their dream of fundamentally shifting the court by nominating someone with no known experience in constitutional issues rather than any one of a number of better-known jurists with unquestioned records.

The dismay among conservatives stems partly from the fact that so little is known about Miers, a well-regarded corporate lawyer, member of the Texas legal establishment, evangelical Christian and confidante of the president. But in a deeper way, it reflects the smoldering resentment about other administration policies -- from big-spending domestic programs to fragmentation over Iraq -- and enormous frustration that a president who prides himself on governing in primary colors has adopted a stealth strategy on something as fundamental to conservatives as the Supreme Court.

"No one has anything against her," said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and one of the first conservatives to register his disappointment. "But the idea that one is supposed to sacrifice both intellectual distinction and philosophical clarity at the same time is just ridiculous."

For more than two decades, conservatives have been developing a team of potential justices for the high court in preparation for a moment such as this. They point to jurists such as Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, Judge Michael W. McConnell of the 10th Circuit and Judge Priscilla R. Owen, newly sworn in on the 5th Circuit, as examples of people who have not just paid their dues but also weathered intellectual battles in preparation for reshaping the Supreme Court.

Conservatives were deeply offended when presidential emissary Ed Gillespie told a gathering on Wednesday that some criticism of Miers has "a whiff" of sexism and elitism. They said there are any number of female judges who would have drawn an enthusiastic reaction from the right, and one former conservative activist noted that Owen, a hero among conservatives, went to law school at Baylor University, hardly an Ivy League institution.


Weyrich said he had once been told by Justice Clarence Thomas it was important not just to have conservatives on the court, but also conservatives who have "been through the wars and survived." Having won the White House and captured majorities in Congress, conservatives eagerly anticipated a fight in the Senate over a nominee like that and believed Bush would have the stomach for one.

Posted by crimnos @ 8:12 AM

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I don't see the mainstream Republican party moving to overturn Roe because if they did then they would loose one of their biggest campaign platforms.

Posted by Blogger james @ 2:37 PM #
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