Posted by Curt on 11 October, 2005 at 8:25 pm. 1 comment.

I have been reading some of the comments left at Free Republic with alarm. It is amazing how quick some on the right are to tear apart this President over nothing but speculation. It almost seems as if the lib’s over at DummiesU have infiltrated and taken over their minds. Crazy.

AJStrata has a couple excellent posts about this:

Well I have to hand it to those anti-Miers types (like our friends at Redstate who find it normal to insult those they disagree with), they sure are an impressive crowd. With nothing but speculation and hypotheticals, they have discerned that Harriet Miers must be stopped at all costs. And in the Senate, their allies are ready to damage Bush for the good of the country – and the conservative movement overall!

Those crazy martyrs, what will they think up next?

Well, DJ Drummond at Polipundit has provided some cold, hard perspective on the zealotry and fanaticism from the anti-Miers crowd:

In 1993, President William Jefferson Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the United States Supreme Court. Despite the clear indication that Ginsburg represented a clear shift to the Left from the Justice she replaced, the confirmation vote was 96 to 3 in Ginsberg?s favor.
How strange, that so many Republicans respected Bill Clinton so much more than they will George W. Bush.

How strange indeed! Of course Ginsburg was ?more qualified? than Myers who is graduated from [sniff] SMU! That is why she and Clinton will be treated with more respect from the fanatics on the right than Bush and Miers.

And from his post today:

I was able to catch Rich Lowry from NRO (one of the many anti-Miers echo chambers on the net) on John Gibson?s show tonight on FOX. I had to laugh at his lame and weak attempt to belittle Miers. He had to state over and over again what I have been saying since the uproar from these fanatics began – they don?t know Miers and cannot make any firm predictions on her.

Lowry whimped out so bad I almost felt sorry for him. At the very end of all his waffling he tried to squeeze in he thought she would be worse the O?Connor. But this made him out to be the total zealot since, obviously and accorsing to himelf, he had no way of knowing!

Nothing firm, but his Vulcan mind reading powers were telling him she was a bad choice – and Bush was too stupid to see it.

And another:

Critics also need to remember that those of us watching this unfold will compare the critic to the target when assessing the critique. The critics of Miers and Bush have very little standing when compared to Miers and Bush. The critics may feel they have all the logic in the world backing them up, but I would take the advise of a President over some Editor of a niche political magazine. Sorry, but on the scales of lifetime achievements, even the Senators can only barely compete with Miers – unless of course she is confirmed. Then there would be no competition in my mind.

To hear these extremists whine and complain is just galling. What have we been complaining for years now? That the far left is taking the Democratic party down the sewer….are we seeing this now on the right? Maybe not:

The Republican base across the country looks more favorably on President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court than the cluster of conservative critics who are opposing her inside the Beltway, according to a Washington Times survey of state party chairmen.

Most Republican chairmen interviewed expressed confidence in Mr. Bush’s choice and said they were picking up little, if any, criticism from their rank and file, though some said they wanted to know more about Miss Miers and expected to learn more once the Senate confirmation process gets under way.

Eileen Melvin, chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, said she had just come from a meeting with state committee members in conservative Lancaster County, where she asked them what they thought of the Miers nomination. “They said we trust the president,” she said.

“The president has defined what he was looking for in a Supreme Court nominee from Day One, so the folks I’ve spoken with understand that he knows Harriet Miers and they trust that he has nominated someone who meets his standards,” Mrs. Melvin said.

In Oregon, “the rank and file of the party are generally concerned that various conservatives are beating up on the president about the Miers appointment,” party Chairman Vance Day said.

One of those critics, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, called the choice of Miss Miers “scandalous.” William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard magazine, has suggested that Mr. Bush withdraw the nomination.

In Washington state, party Chairman Chris Vance said he e-mailed information about Miss Miers, provided by the Republican National Committee, to a statewide list of 10,000 Republican officials and grass-roots activists. “The next day, I got less than 10 e-mails out of 10,000 from people who were upset with the nomination,” Mr. Vance said.

He said the critical e-mails “were basically parroting what they heard on talk radio from conservative opinion leaders. So it’s been comparatively mild. The attitude of the overwhelming majority of Republicans out here is that we trust the president and let’s see how the hearings go.”

In Alabama, a state that gave Mr. Bush 62.5 percent of its vote last year, Republican Chairman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh said, “People respect [Mr. Bush?s] choice. A lot of people would like to know more about her, but the president has had the most personal contact with her, knows her thoughts, abilities and beliefs, and we trust him to make the right decision. Overwhelmingly, that’s what I hear people saying.”

In Vermont, Republican state Chairman Jim Barnett says he has “heard nothing but support” from the party’s base.

“From my perspective, the skepticism and criticism [from conservative groups] is an inside-the-Beltway phenomenon,” Mr. Barnett said.

“I don’t hear a lot of second-guessing. I have not received a single phone call on this. I think there’s an appreciation in the role she’s played in breaking the glass ceiling in her profession and the president’s personal history with Miss Miers. I think that goes a long way with our grass roots,” he said.

Although Mr. Bush’s base seems willing to trust his judgment, party chairmen said that many still wanted to hear some specifics about what Miss Miers thinks about the major social and constitutional issues facing the country.

“Mostly what I’m hearing is they want to hear more about her, and some are withholding judgment until they learn more about her,” Oklahoma Chairman Gary Jones said.

Here is a interesting thread of discussion at Free Republic concerning the Founding Father’s intent:

“It’s enough to start making me think that we need to send a clearer message to George Bush. The White House needs to rethink its relationship to reality and its so-far loyal supporters.”

But, if we have a devotion to the Constitution, then we must recognize that it is the Constitution itself which prescribes the authority and process for nominations to the Court.

On the one hand, we claim this great devotion to it and to a highly-qualified new justice who will interpret and abide by its provisions. On the other hand, many of us ignore its prescribed prescription and process for selection of justices, preferring to pretend that the Constitution (which we may not understand) does not give citizens a role in assisting the Executive (President) in the actual naming of nominees to be considered by the Senate.

Federalist No. 76 explained very carefully for citizens the Framers’ reasoning when it came to making the President the sole authority for appointing justices, with approval of the Senate. They understood human nature, and they understood politics, and they deliberately chose not to include us in the process. To the contrary, they explained very carefully why persons with special party interests should not be able to exert their pressures in the process.

It is the President who is putting his role in history on the line. Like America’s Founders, his concern must be with how future generations will judge his decision–not how a fickle ‘base’ regards him now. Posterity will either judge of him that he furthered the cause of liberty with this nomination or that he did not.

If today’s “conservatives” (whatever we may interpret that term to mean) truly want our Constitution to be honored and preserved, then we should be willing to live by its prescribed processes ourselves.

Else, we destroy our own credibility!

Last paragraph of Federalist 76, do you really want ti use this in your argument?

To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. In addition to this, it would be an efficacious source of stability in the administration.

The answer is: Yes, I really would want to use Federalist 76, and the section you quote merely reinforces the point I was trying to make. It is the Senate who is to be the check, not the President’s party advisors. In addition, as with any of the Framers explanations of the provisions of their Constitution, Federalist 76 must be taken as a whole, and in context, in order to be meaningful.

Let me reiterate my original point. The Founders’ Constitution delegated the authority to the President, with a prescribed process for exercising that authority, which was to include the cooperation and concurrence of the Senate.

In the case now before us, the President has exercised his authority to name the nominee, and the process involves the Senate’s hearings and vote (concurrence) in order for the nominee to become a justice.

Nowhere is there a constitutionally prescribed place in that process for citizens to “force” (or even influence) Presidential withdrawal of that nomination prior to Senate action. Federalist 76 explores reasons, as mentioned in my original post, for their reasoning that the authority is to rest with the Executive, with cooperation and concurrence of the Senate.

My further point was that, as citizens who hold to the principle that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land and that we, as “conservatives,” say we want justices who will abide by its prescriptions so that it may be “conserved,” or preserved in all its integrity, then we should be willing to respect and abide by the process it prescribes and let the Senate handle the matter.

Many so-called “intellectuals” among the “talking heads” don’t seem to be willing to do that, but would use their media status to try to force the President to withdraw the nomination, some on the grounds that he owes it to his political ‘base.’

As individuals, we possess the right to criticize as much as we wish, but pressure from partisan groups to interject their will on a constitutional process is not seemly for those who claim devotion to the Constitution.

It is the Senate who is to be the check, not the President’s party advisors.

Interesting, you completely ignored this part

It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.

We are just trying to inform our Senators that we think this applies to this nominee …….spirit of favoritism in the President, from family connection, from personal attachment

Interesting, you completely ignored this part….”

Actually, I do not recommend ignoring any part of Federalist 76. As a matter of fact, my posts have encouraged taking it as a whole, not parsing out portions to suit our various viewpoints, as some have done.

As a whole, it is a wise and thorough explanation of the Framers’ intentions for the authority, process, and procedure for nominations of justices, and their well-thought-out reasons for that constitutional authority and process.

Your point is well taken that nothing in Federalist 76 indicates that it is not entirely appropriate for individual citizens to contact their Senators and urge them to either approve or to disapprove of a President’s nominee. Federalist 76 does not, however, prescribe any method for partisan citizen pressure to force a Presidential withdrawal of his/her nominee in the middle of the prescribed process prior to Senate action. It is that kind of pressure and talk on the part of people who claim to be constitutional “conservatives” that is troubling and seems to be at odds with true conservatism.

And finally I will end with the great Scrappleface:

Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-PA, announced today he will delay confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers until he can locate some Senators who are intellectually qualified to question her on the finer points of Constitutional law.

“Most of us in the Senate used to be lawyers,” said Sen. Specter, “and you can’t expect a simple ambulance chaser to understand the kind of weighty issues that come before the Supreme Court.”

The chairman noted that Senators not only “lack the intellectual heft” to comprehend Constitutional law and formulate questions about it, but many of them became lawmakers through “what amounts to a popularity contest.”

“The average senator holds his seat thanks to personal wealth, political cronyism and the ability to perform for the camera,” Sen. Specter said. “Those are hardly qualifications for scrutinizing a potential Supreme Court justice about the various theories related to original intent.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president encouraged Sen. Specter to proceed with the hearings anyway.

“As you know,” Mr. McClellan said, “you go into confirmation hearings with the Senate you have, They?re not the Senate you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Now that’s some funny stuff.

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