I support the Miers nomination because I am a strict constructionist of the Constitution. Article II, Section 2 says:
He [the President] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments. [emphasis mine]
The President has the right to nominate Supreme Court justices. President Bush has done that. Now it is the right of the Senate to give “advice and consent”. That has not happened yet. I want to see the constitutional process followed.
There are three more reasons I support the nomination. The first is on a purely “fair is fair” basis.
1. Miers has not has not had a chance to defend herself (and the President). If she is forced out now, there is no way to redeem her (or the President’s) reputation. Stopping the process now will in effect say that she is not good enough and will bring into question the President’s ability to fulfill his constitutional responsibility. To tar someone and not let them respond is at the least unfair if not downright unethical.
The other two have political implications.
2. Forcing the withdrawal or defeat of the nomination, will weaken both President Bush and the Republican majority (which already has had significant problems in doing anything substantive). Governing is hard enough now. Imagine what it will be like if President Bush takes a major hit from both “supporters” and opponents. One thing you have to say about the Democrats is that when their President was caught lying under oath they went to the mat for him–and are still doing it. Heard Michael Moore on the subject? And that was lying under oath! Clinton’s presidency was weakened, but not because of the Democrats.
3. It makes all the previous conservative furor over Republican unity so much hypocrisy. If conservatives can oppose Harriet Miers, why couldn’t Sen. Voinovich oppose John Bolton? Or why be upset with the fourteen who defused the constitutional option? Or with Sen. Specter being chairman of the Judiciary Committee? The sad fact is that Specter has been more supportive of the president’s nominees than conservatives have. If conservatives can break ranks, then everyone else has the same right.
If you don’t like a nominee, fine. But then don’t expect others to support your nominee, or bill, or position if that’s not what they feel.
There are a lot of positives to encouraging diversity of opinion. Political effectiveness is not one of them. Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment (“Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”) showed how closely his political wisdom was intertwined with his conservative principles. Too bad some who invoke his name, don’t take his counsel.