So I've been musing on the Miers nomination this week, and now that the initial schadenfreude is over, I've thought about it, and come to the conclusion that we ought perhaps put her on the bench despite the fact that I think she's a raving wing-nut crazy with no real qualification to speak of that makes her worthy of sitting on the same bench as Ginsberg, Stevens, and yes, even Roberts.
While the discussion of qualifications is out there, I can't help but thinking that conservative stupidity is really rather preferable than qualifications. After all, a judge is beholden to know one but the opinion of their fellow-judges. And they value each other's opinion. In this sense, having someone's opinion whom they could respect on the Court would be detrimental to our causes.
More below the bump.
The true danger I felt with Roberts was not so much whether he was a conservative or not. He is, but then so was Rehnquist, and besides, conservative is really terribly nomenclature for judicial philosophy. My opinion of Roberts was even more dangerous. He tended to side with conservatives but without a strict philosophy, rather, instead, arguing each case by its merits to arrive at a conservative conclusion. While, in a sense, this is a good thing, as it means that there is a flexibility to his opinions, that he's likely to be taken by nuance, and that he's not an idealogue, it also makes him highly dangerous to the Court overall.
Conservatives always say they want a Scalia, but that's not really what they should be saying. After all, while I'll leave the discussion of Scalia's legal brilliance for another day, Scalia has been entirely unsuccessful at convincing other judges to sign onto his philosophy, other than Thomas, whom we all know was there anyway. The fact that Kennedy and O'Connor often sided with the Court "liberals", and Scalia's famed scorn of O'Connor's opinion, is what has been keeping the balance of the Court as it is. In other words, the liberals on the bench have been much more successful convincing the other judges to agree with them. Scalia, on the other hand, has been confrontational and self-righteous in his proclamation of "philosophy" without being particularly pure in regards to it, and then hoping that his witty nature will cover the hypocrisy. Well, it hasn't, and as such he has been writing dissents, not majority opinions.
The danger with Roberts was that he was genial and likable and charms the pants off people, yet was conservative. This seems to me to indicate that he's likely to gain the respect of his fellow-justices and possibly swing some of those crucial votes (cough cough Kennedy) over to the "conservative" side.
So what does this have to do with Miers?
Well, I don't think it very likely that the justices will have her automatic respect. In fact, if she fails to impress the Senate and conservatives, she'll fail to impact the cream of the intellectual crop that sits on the Court currently. In fact, many conservatives are lamenting that Miers might well vote how they like, but she is a lightweight. Well, a lightweight is just a vote, not an influence. And, frankly, she's 62 which is older than I would've previously dared to hope.
Listen, I think we probably couly successfully sink this nomination. But it would not be Democrats he was indebted to when it came time to name her replacement. It would be conservatives advocating for a heavyweight. Someone who is more than a vote and reliably conservative. That to me is more dangerous than a stupid, reliable conservative. If I thought we were going to get anyone better the next time around, I would say filibuster the hell out of her crony ass. But I don't believe Bush can upset his base twice in a row.
Maybe I'll change my mind with the hearings, but for now label me cynical, depressed, and wishing O'Connor's husband would rapidly recover and she's reconsider. But I don't really see a way out otherwise.
Sorry for adding to the Miers hubbub, but this is more for my benefit than anyone else's. If nothing else I can now compare my sentiments after the hearing, which should be much more interesting than the yawner of the Roberts' hearings.