1) But Harriet Miers is pro-life! That means she’ll vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. The nominee’s personal views should have no bearing on how she rules in the court room. But, even if they did, there are many cases the court will decide other than Roe v. Wade and ideologically, Harriet Miers appears to be a pro-life squish. Why should conservatives support a Supreme Court Justice who will vote against Roe, but will vote with the liberal block of the court on many other issues, when there are numerous other judges who will toe an originalist line?
2) Miers is an Evangelical Christian. Wouldn’t it be great to have an evangelical Christian on the court? Since Harriet Miers’ religious beliefs are not supposed to affect how she rules and since she will undoubtedly testify that her religion won’t play a role in her decisions, the fact that she’s an evangelical Christian matters little when it comes to her fitness to be on the court.
3) Miers may turn out to be another Scalia. True, but that seems more unlikely by the day. On the other hand, Miers may also turn out to be another Souter. When we have a Republican President who promised to appoint conservative judges and 55 Republican Senators, we deserve better than a coin flip for a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.
4) Because of her experience in the White House, Harriet Miers has experience in war on terror related issues that would be of value on the Supreme Court. Actually, the time Harriet Miers spent as the President’s counsel is a huge negative. That’s not just because it makes her look like the crony that she is, but because it may lead to her having to recuse herself from key cases. What good is legal experience in the war on terror if it leads to Harriet Miers being unable to vote on those key cases?
5) The President has a right to select whatever nominee he wants for the Supreme Court: Agreed. But, the rest of us have every bit as much of a right to criticize that pick, encourage him to withdraw the nomination, and to demand that Senators vote against the nominee.
6) The President deserves great deference in his selections for the Supreme Court: Agreed. But, I would argue that after promising to appoint judges like Scalia and Thomas on the campaign trail, he exceeded the level of deference he deserves to be given with his selection of an under qualified crony, with no originalist credentials, for the Supreme Court.
7) You should just trust the President! Republican Presidents have said, “Trust me,” as they’ve given us John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter. So, “trust me,” alone just isn’t good enough anymore.
8) What about the endorsements of Miers? People like James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Ken Starr support her. Setting aside the fact that the number of prominent conservatives opposed to Miers vastly outnumber those who support her nomination, the pro-Miers side has had more than enough time to lay out their arguments and, quite frankly, the case always seems to come down to some version of, “We trust the President.” If that’s their position, that’s fine, but for those of us who aren’t willing to, “trust the President,” on this, there is little reason to be comforted by those endorsements.
9) But, President Bush knows her personally. Shouldn’t that count for a lot? David Frum knows Harriet Miers personally and he’s leading the opposition to her candidacy. Jerry Bartos, a conservative member of the Dallas City Council knew her and rated her effectiveness at “zero.” Ned Ryun, a presidential writer who had a run in with her said he, “started laughing,” when he heard she might be nominated because he couldn’t believe it was true. Bruce Packard, a former partner at Harriet Miers law firm said she was “liberal on issues other than abortion.” The President may know and adore Ms. Miers, but since there are so many other people who know her and don’t have a high opinion of her, it seems unwise to place much stock in his personal opinion alone.
10) If you voted for George Bush, you shouldn’t criticize his choice: We voted for a President, not a king or dictator. If the President can’t take criticism, he’s in the wrong job.
11) Criticizing the President over this nomination hurts our chances in 2006: To me, this has it exactly backwards. The President chose to select a nominee who he knew would inspire ferocious criticism from the right and he has stuck with her despite the howls of outrage from people who are normally his strongest supporters. Therefore, it seems to me that the President, not the people criticizing him, are responsible for the political damage that’s being done.
12) If Harriet Miers is withdrawn or loses in the Senate, it’ll be a big political setback for the President. That’s just incorrect. Was having Robert Bork rejected a big setback for Reagan? No. Was withdrawing the nomination of Linda Chavez or Bernard Kerkik a big setback for Bush? No. What would hurt Bush is shoving Harriet Miers through the Senate, over the strident objections of his most ardent supporters. If he wants to start a grudge war with much of the conservative punditry and blogosphere that will probably last for the rest of his presidency, that’s the perfect way to do it.
13) Harriet Miers was a last option. All the good candidates dropped out. Don’t buy that for a second. Scott McClellan has said that: “The list of possible nominees was “well into the double digits” when “a couple of individuals” asked that their names be dropped.” Losing a couple of candidates out of let’s say 15 is just no big deal, especially when Harriet Miers was probably less qualified for the job than every other candidate that was being considered.
14) Harriet Miers was probably the best Bush could get. No other nominee could have gotten through the Senate. Hogwash! There are 55 Republican Senators, probably 51 or 52 votes for the nuclear option if need be, and John Roberts made it through the Senate with 78 votes. Given how white hot the base is about judges and how much pressure there would have been on Republican Senators to vote for any well liked candidate, it’s likely that there are, at a minimum, a dozen more worthy candidates than Miers that Bush could have gotten confirmed by the Senate — and still could.
15) There have been other nominees confirmed to the court in the past with undistinguished track records. So why should Harriet Miers be any different? There have also been candidates with undistinguished track records who have been rejected by the Senate as well. Arguing that historically, there have been a handful of candidates that are as bad as Harriet Miers, doesn’t speak well for her qualifications for the job.
16) How Can Republican Senators who voted for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer turn around and vote against Miers? Setting aside the fact that neither Ginsburg nor Breyer lacked qualifications for the job or was a crony of President Clinton, Republicans have a right to demand the same thing of President Bush that Democrats did of President Clinton: Supreme Court Justices who represent their philosophy and further their interests. This is doubly true in the case of George Bush, who made a campaign pledge to appoint justices like Scalia and Thomas.
17) We should wait for the hearings before making a decision. The chief complaints against Harriet Miers from the right have been that she is under qualified for the job, a crony of the President, is insufficiently conservative, and has no track record as an originalist. Which of these issues can she possibly address in the hearings? Why should people take her word for it if she says she believes in strict constructionism or if she talks about how conservative she is despite the fact that there is no evidence to back it up? There is just no reason for conservatives to wait until the hearings to make a decision.
18) Are you implying that people who support Miers are unprincipled or not “real conservatives”? Not in the least. Supporting Harriet Miers is not “unconservative,” “dishonorable,” or “unprincipled,” although I do believe it is a serious mistake.
19) The criticism of Harriet Miers is sexist! There were numerous female candidates Bush could have selected who would have inspired celebration on the right — like Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, Karen Williams, and Edith Hollan Jones among others. As a matter of fact, Janice Rogers Brown would have probably been the most popular selection Bush could have made on the right. Therefore, charges of sexism simply have no basis in fact.
20) The criticism of Harriet Miers is based on snobby elitism: Harriet Miers may have accomplished a lot in her life, but compared to the other candidates for the job, she has had an undistinguished career. Quite frankly, Ms. Miers’ credentials are a joke compared to people like Michael Luttig, Edith Hollan Jones, and Miguel Estrada. Pointing out that Ms. Miers was not a merit based pick for the Supreme Court does not constitute elitism.
21) Even if Miers isn’t a great candidate, is she really worth this sort of fight? Absolutely! We’re talking a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court here and the Justice who fills that slot will be making far reaching decisions that will impact our lives in a myriad of ways. If this isn’t worth a fight, then what is?