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    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    My views on Harriet Miers

    I've never aligned myself with the right per se but I also echo reservations with Miers. First, I posted about my feelings on picking a woman. I also have many questions with Ms. Miers.

    Does a supreme court justice need to be an expert in constitutional law?

    My thoughts say no, but with reservations. Someone without great knowledge in our constitution must have shown supreme aptitude in other areas.

    Does a justice need to be a judge before being serving on SCOTUS?

    No. Justice Rehnquist is a recent example of this. However, again this is with reservations. In my profession, doing research on stomach cancer (PhD) is far different from being a medical oncologist (MD). So I have heard advocating as a lawyer is far different from judging the law. If one of the best judges in the land does not have prior experience, so be it, but let he or she be--again--accomplished in his or her field.

    Was Harriet Miers a pick because she's a crony?

    Probably. But that's to be understood in almost every vocation. "It's who you know, not what you know" was the mantra I learned in college. That doesn't bother me so much because I'm jaded enough to expect it from the government.

    Will she be conservative?

    This is a biggie. I don't really care. But Vice president Cheney got on Rush limbaugh and made the point that we will know in 10 years. Rush replied, "why wait 10 years?" I agree. Conservative or not, why should I have to wait 10 years to understand where the direction of the court will go? I, as a constituent, want to know the direction ASAP, so I can influence my senator to vote yes/no. Leaving such an important and lifelong position ambiguous does not make me happy.

    In summary, there are too many if's to make me support Ms. Miers. Being the first woman president of the Dallas and Texas Bar Associations is a great, but it's not that great. She has no record of arguing anything before the supreme court, and a history of riding up to her position on the coattails of Pres. Bush instead of her own merit. These ifs far outweigh the few quantifiable parts of her persona we know. To me, that is an unsatisfactory pick.


    VietPundit said...

    "Will she be conservative? This is a biggie. I don't really care."

    I'm confused (as usual). How can "biggie" and "don't care" go together? Are you saying that you won't support her if she's not conservative enough? or if she's too conservative? Or are you saying you just don't know enough about her philosophy to make a judgement?

    Triet said...

    Thanks for calling me out.

    "Will she be conservative? This is a biggie. I don't really care."

    My intention was to say the question "Will she be conservative?" is a very big and important question on many people's minds. My response to the question is: "I don't really care."

    Let me explain further. I see "conservative" as such a broad yet defining label. In today's society, if you are labeled (by yourself or others) as conservative or liberal, there is an immediate bias in people's minds as to your views and lifestyle. This bias is different depending on the person (my view of a stereotypical liberal is no doubt different from someone who grew up in New York), nevertheless, it exists. In this method it is very defining.

    However, the label is extremely broad. Someone who is fiscally conservative may have far different social values from a social conservative. "Conservative" in the law sector is seen by some as those who interpret the constitution strictly according to its words, and by others as those who interpret the constitution to fulfill the morally conservative views of a segment of the population.

    For these reasons, I don't really care about the answer to my hypothetical question. Of course I want to know Miers' stands on issues, and general view on life, but I am trying to resist labeling her a "conservative." She may be economically liberal, morally conservative, etc. I don't know. Too many facets of a person to just use one label.

    In answer to your questions, I guess I probably wouldn't support her if she was too conservative or not conservative enough. I don't trust someone who looks at the world so progressively as to consistently argue the need for throwing out tradition and current law for a new interpretation. However, I learned in every History class in college that living so conservatively as to never change your view, actions, or thought process in response to a rapidly changing world quickly leaves you and your civilization fragile and impotent. A healthy dose of progression with logical restraint is needed to better this world.

    We'll see if Harriet Miers will accomplish that.

    VietPundit said...

    Thanks for clarifying your post. I wasn't "interrogating" you; I was just really confused because I mistakenly tied the "conservative" question to the rest of the post.

    I'm still leaning against Miers' nomination, but I'll wait till the hearings.