Harriet Miers: Will The American Bar Association Rating Be Enough?

October 13, 2005 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

She Changed Her Religion Once And Supported Democrats In The Eighties So What She Will Do In The Future On Specific Social Issues Is Any Ones Guess.

After a long and careful search Bush has come up with another nominee for the Supreme Court; his former personal lawyer and present White House Counsel, Harriet Miers. She was the White House lawyer who vetted and recommended John Roberts. Does this sound like cronyism? Seems so but there has been a lot of crony appoinments to the Supreme Court in the past. While Miss Miers may be an adequate lawyer for Bush’s White House needs she has no constitutional law experience as a judge or a lawyer. Her experience appears to be in the corporate transactional law area. Her principle qualifications are that she is a woman, an Evangelical Christian, a friend of Bush and has no public track record on the social issues which divide this country.

She is a former Catholic that now belongs to an Evangelical Christian church in Dallas where she is from. She has never been married and has no children. She has more skeptics on the Fundamentalist Christian side than on the moderate to left side. Should she be a Supreme Court Justice? Sandra Day O’Connor, who she will replace, has three sons and a husband besides being third in her class at Stanford. She also had experience as a politician and as a judge before she was appointed.

Who Else Was Not Nominated Because They Had An Opinion On Social And Economic Issues And Took Part In The Current Debate?

One has to wonder how many other highly qualified constitutional lawyers are out there who have been disqualified because they have a track record as being for or against abortion. That is probably her principle qualification for the nomination. She has no track record on the social issues that Bush’s supporter’s value more than their economic well-being. It is the reason they voted the way they did in the last election. (click here)

The number of abortions in this country is declining. However the Right has been able to make this a crucial issue at election time infusing it with more hype, emotion and importance than it deserves. Gay marriage is another peripheral issue. While it is important to the Gays it is really unimportant to non gays which comprise approximately 95”% of the population except in a symbolic sense. Gun control is another issue that is exploited by the Right. The Constitution gives us the right to bear arms but automatic weapons with armor piercing bullets? I don’t think so. So Harriet Miers has no track record on these issues important to many Bush supporters.

However there is one area you can be sure she is going to be very conservative on and that is economic issues. She will continue the legacy of Rehnquist and may even be on the same page as Thomas and Scalia. There are three types of Supreme Court Judges the literal, original document followers and the original document believers who think it should be interpreted according to present day conditions and facts as the Framers would if they were here to day. Then there are the many shades in between. Rehnquist was an original document thinker but who believed in gradual change back to conditions as they existed before the New Deal. Roberts is probably close to Rehnquist in his thinking paying attention to the precedents of the last seventy-five years but gradually changing the law back toward the Roosevelt era of either Theodore or Franklin. Franklin on social and economic issues and Theodore on economic, evironmental and business regulation issues.

These presidents enacted laws that were monumental economically and socially and brought the United States into the Twentieth Century. So Miers will be for less government except in the area of national defense, which was probably the most compelling reason for the establishment of the United States in the first place. Many Framers believed the only true business of the National Government was defense and guiding relations between the States. The States were meant to take care of everything else. However The Bill of Rights, ( the first ten amendments) most of which apply to the States as well as the Federal Government was later passed. Some people thought there was no need for a list of enumerated right since all rights came from the people enumerated or not and a list of rights interpreted narrowly could be used to deny persons unstated rights ( like privacy) . Thus it would serve to narrow the rights of the people. This the true animus between the leaders of the political parties today and not the peripheral issues named above.

Therefore Harriet Miers may not be thoroughly vetted on the social issues but you can be sure she has been on economic philosophy, on small federal government, states rights, property rights over individual rights and pre Roosevelt economic policies.

American Bar Association Rating

It will be interesting to see how the American Bar Association (ABA) rates her. “Well Qualified”, “Qualified” or “Not Qualified”. The ABA rates judicial nominees on three factors “integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.” Bush distanced himself from the ABA in 2001 by not having that organization vet candidates before he nominated them believing that the ABA was too liberal. However the ABA doesn’t rate people on their political or religious beliefs or even take those factors into consideration.(click here).

John Roberts was rated “Well Qualified” as were all the other Justices except Thomas who received a “Qualified” rating. The problem here is that Bush’s supporters who want a nominee who has a track record on abortion and other social issues they favor would rather see him nominate a federal appellate judge with such a track record. This would of course cause a Constitutional standoff in the Senate as it almost did when he nominated a cadre of judges satisfactory to the Evangelical Right (click here).

So a “Well Qualified” evaluation by the ABA may secure the votes of some moderate or liberal Senators but it probably won’t influence the more conservative Senators and their constituents. However her nomination will probabaly be approved by the Senate since there are probably not enough votes on either side to prevent her appointment unless some devastaing new fact becomes known.

When all is said and done we will not know who Harriet Miers is until she is on the bench for many years and maybe not even then. She changed her religion once and supported the Democrats in the eighties so what she will do in the future on specific social issues is any ones guess.



One Comment on Harriet Miers: Will The American Bar Association Rating Be Enough?

  1. Hwa Ducayne on Mon, 27th Dec 2010 1:22 pm
  2. Thanks for creating this. I really feel as though I know so much more about the topic than I did before. You should continue this, Im sure most people would agree youve got a gift.

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