Thursday, October 06, 2005

Why Not the Second Best? (cont.)

David Frum continues and points us to John Yoo's Washington Post op-ed. Here's Frum quoting Yoo, and then moving on:
"[A]ccording to press reports, she did not win a reputation as a forceful conservative on issues such as the administration's position on stem cell research or affirmative action."

Yoo is referring here to the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, a challenge to the constitutionality of preferential treatment for minorities in education. Many in the administration wanted to take a strong stand in favor of color-blindness. In the end, the administration faltered and argued that racial preferences are okay, up to a point. It is hard to imagine a more central issue to modern legal conservatives. Where was Miers? On the wrong side.

Inside the White House, Miers was best known, not as a conservative, not as a legal thinker, but as a petty bureaucrat.

When Beldar tells you that he knows people in Texas who know Miers, remember that Frum and other former White House people know her, too. I'm unsure why distant memories from a trial judge who had her in his court should be valued over the observations of people who worked with her very recently.

Here is Frum's devastating conclusion:
Some NRO readers have challenged me: Why should we trust you when you say that Miers is not qualified rather than trust the president when he says she is?

My answer is: Don't trust me. Trust your own eyes. The woman is 61 years old, a lawyer for more than three decades. Can you see any instance in this long life and career where Miers ever took a risk on behalf of conservative principle? Can you see any indication of intellectual excellence? Did she ever do anything brave, anything that took backbone? Did anyone before this week ever describe her as oustanding in any way at all?

If the answers to these questions is No, as it is, then you have to ask yourself: Why is a Republican president bypassing so many dozens of superb legal conservatives to choose Harriet Miers for the highest court in the land?

Good question.


John Sterling said...

Frum is out in front criticizing Miers. Please indulge in some baseless ad hominem speculation about his motives. Could it be some natural frustration with the fact that Miers and her undistinguished SMU math and law credentials will sit on da Sumpreme Court, while Frum with his ultra shiny Yale degree and Harvard JD will not.

Bill Walsh said...

Ah, no. Frum is not a lawyer (though he has a law degree) and has never expressed the slightest interest in being a judge, much less Supreme Court justice.

He's making his criticisms out of principle. Agree or disagree as you like, but there's no need to cast aspersions on his motives.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Bill Walsh on this. Frum has never expressed an interest in being on the court. I think he's fully aware that he disqualified himself long ago by writing on issues such as gay marriage and affirmative action.

John Sterling said...

I'm content to believe that Frum's heart is as pure as Caesar's wife. His only concern is the good of the republic. I only submit a variation on the hoary, old theme, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" Is it not possible that the conservative commentariat is sad to come down from the Roberts credential high?

Anonymous said...

Yes, sad, because we didn't have to come down from the credential high -- or at least not as much as we have.