Monday, October 03, 2005

On semantics - trusted vs. trustworthy

Okay, so Bush has come through with his nomination for a Supreme Court justice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, and big surprise, it's a woman. As I'm sure you can imagine, I'm right chuffed about it. And I'm event fairly chuffed about the woman that he chose, considering that the short list included such titans of American jurisprudence as Priscilla Owen.

Harriet Miers rocked my socks with her bold choice of royal blue at this morning's presser announcing her nomination (Har, we can talk about necklines later on, k). Unfortunately, there's not an awful lot left to rock my socks, because with no bench experience whatsoever, she's kind of lacking any kind of a paper trail. Democrats and Republicans alike are concerned about her political leanings, since there's no judicial record to work from; everything we know about her politics will be come from her confirmation hearings, and you know how I feel about those.

What we do know about her already I kind of like (yes, I realize she's a Bushie; I do have layers, y'know). She's got a lot of "first woman to"s on her resume - first woman hired by her law firm, and then first female president of that firm; first woman to head the Dallas Bar Association; and first female president of the State Bar of Texas. She's also a big supporter of pro bono work and advocacy for the poor. I respect that, and I like to think that a woman who has accomplished so much and faced down so many gender barriers is likely to have a lot of respect for women's issues. How will this translate into abortion rights? Dunno. In 1992, she argued against an ABA ruling in support of abortion rights, but she hasn't spoken out against abortion rights; her objection was to the ABA taking a position at all.

Does this mean that I completely support the nomination of Harriet Miers? Of course it doesn't. We don't really know anything about her. And that's one of the big problems; she hasn't done a lot to know about. City Councilwoman, presidential advisor and Lottery Commissioner do not a Supreme Court justice make. Again, I'm going to have to reserve judgment until her confirmation hearings.

Here's one thing we do know for sure, though, and please take a breath and count to ten before you start accusing me of blatant partisanship: she's an advisor for the Bush administration. Her office was responsible for setting legal parameters for the Iraq war, and and for vetting the appeals court nominees that nearly caused a steel cage death match in the Senate. Um, heck of a job there, guys. And I hate to say it, but someone has to: President Bush is a boob. Ever-growing popular opinion is that our president just plain doesn't make good decisions, even with a crack team of puppeteers planning his every move. Some might argue that his failures reflect as much on his staff as they do on him.

I'm still willing to give Harriet Miers the benefit of the doubt; all told, she's got a lot going for her, and we won't know anything until she's sitting in front of the Judicial Committee with the spotlight on her. My first instinct, though, says that appointing one of Bush's advisors to the highest court in the land would be like building a skyscraper with the engineers responsible for the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

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