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The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I've been so busy since my last post that I realized I needed to throw something together, here.

The big news this week is, of course, the nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to fill the seat being vacated by retiring SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. I honestly don't know what to think about Ms. Miers. I don't know that it matters to me that she's never been a judge - there are many instances in the past where nominees weren't judges. She's obviously intelligent. What bothers me is that she's a Bush insider and I'm very concerned that she will attack Roe v. Wade. Reproductive rights are not optional for me - Roe v. Wade has been in place since 1973 and it's the settled law of the land. I don't think the SCOTUS should seek to overturn it or do anything other than clarify it when a state inks a law that limits it.

I DO understand that it's a very emotional issue for people who are against it. I know that these people feel what they feel strongly, as strongly as I feel it should be safe and legal. I don't think they're all whacko or moronic. At all. I do know that those people and I will likely never see eye-to-eye and will likely never be able to compromise. I have no answers except that I will fight with my support and my feet and my checkbook to ensure it remains safe and legal.

So back to the question of Harriet Miers. I'm pretty tickled to see the right with their panties in such a twist over this. In fact, I think the right is more alarmed by this nomination than the left - that makes the left suspicious, but it's fun to watch. I am concerned, though, that Bush is just instituting more cronyism, a charge that is being levelled by his own partisans. I do know one things. First, I think the idea that you can't ask a SCOTUS nominee where their personal views stand on issues critical to the voting public of America is ridiculous. I think it's especially ridiculous when the nominee in question has no paper trail to evaluate to glean some idea of where they stand. Essentially, the nomination of Harriet Miers coupled with the the "I won't answer questions aobut issues which may come before me on the bench" is tantamount to saying that we just have to trust the President in this.

Sorry - I'm not really feeling all that favorably inclined to his judgment when it comes to high-level appointments, John Robert notwithstanding. I don't have faith that he's seeking a nominee who will serve America first and his judicial philosophy second... Since when did it become Presidential prerogative to appoint someone who sees things the way they see them? What if the way the President sees a particular issue is by far and away a minority opinion among Americans??

The abortion question is a perfect example. A few numbers, from Polling Report:
  • 54% of Americans would characterize themselves as pro-choice. 38% as pro-life. The remainder is spread pretty evenly across "Mixed/neither", "Don't know what term means" and "Unsure".
  • 60% of Americans think the Roe v. Wade decision was a good thing. 35% think it's a bad thing. 1% think it's both good and bad and 4% are unsure.

I think it's perfectly acceptable and would submit that it's the Judiciary Committee's responsibility to test nominees on those types of questions, especially where clear evidence exists as to how the American people, on the whole, feel about the issue.

At a bare minimum, this is going to be fun. My gut tells me that he's miscalculated in making this point and made an even further mistake when he said in his press conference today that she'll "be the same in 10 years" (paraphrased). What a stupid thing to say - especially when this particular woman was a Democrat and changed parties. And do people really want someone who will be utterly unchanged as events and attitudes change around them? I can't image a more damning statement, and frankly I don't think it's true. The Democrats won't have to take him apart on this one - we're suspicious and maybe rightfully so - but the right is already vocally coming out agains this nominee and characterizing the President as "weak" and "lacking the stomach" for a fight. They'll do our job for us on this one.

posted by RenaRF at 4:29 PM 5 comments links to this post


Blogger LaBlogga said...

yes, it seems unbelievable that the secured right to abortion could be challenged after so many years, what an anachronism. btw, Steven Levitt in Freakonomics has some GREAT stats about crime declines following legalized abortion. but maybe this potential appointee is better than others...thats what i am hoping

4:59 PM  
Blogger NYBri said...

I can't believe that this administration would nominate ANYONE that wouldn't vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. This is stealth politics at it's most advanced form, IMO.

Bush says he knows she is a strict constitutionalist one minute and says he's never discussed anything with her the next.

I hate them all, he said politely.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hey, here's an idea: if everyone that reads blogs like this one sends a gift-wrapped bottle of Thunderbird, or Night Train, or Boone's Farm to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, we could have thousands--no millions-- of bottles of wino wine piling up at his front door!

Propogate the meme throughout the sphere!


Or wrap it up yourself.

4:01 AM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

elbloggo - yes, the whole Freakonomics thing is getting great coverage thanks to Bill Bennett. I think I'll have to go check it out. Thanks for the comment.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Glyn (Zaphod) Evans said...

I think she is nominated because of her close personal ties, and her rather strong religious convictions. Soon, every lawmaker in a massively important position in the US will be a devout Christian... preaching about ID and anti-abortion...

4:36 PM  

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