Bush’s Latest Appointment: Harriet Miers

Trying to find some information about Bush’s latest appointee to the Supreme Court, I found two comments especially troubling:

“The reaction of many conservatives today will be that the president has made possibly the most unqualified choice since Abe Fortas who had been the president’s lawyer. The nomination of a nominee with no judicial record is a significant failure for the advisers that the White House gathered around it. However, the president deserves the benefit of a doubt, the nominee deserves the benefit of hearings, and every nominee deserves an up or down vote.”
— Manuel Miranda, chairman of the conservative Third Branch Conference

“This is a smart move. You try to pick a nominee that Democrats won’t be able to criticize as much because they are a woman or minority. This is a classic Clarence Thomas strategy.”

— Artemus Ward, Northern Illinois University political science professor.

For other reactions, see the full version of the article (free registration required).

They are minority opinions to be sure, the bulk of the comments so far range from polite to unalloyed praise for Harriet Miers. Still, I shudder at the mention of Clarence Thomas in connection to anything at all. Few things in politics have made me more angry than his nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall’s record as a lawyer, his tenure as judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals (none of his 98 majority decisions was ever reversed), and his record as solicitor general of the United States (winning 14 of 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court), stand in stark contrast to Thomas’ brief and unremarkable tenure as an appeals court judge. Thomas was notable only for being a black conservative (and his alleged conduct while head of the EEOC). To replace a lion of civil rights like Thurgood Marshall with someone so opposed to what he’d fought his whole life for was has always disappointed me.

What’s sad is that Artemus Ward is probably correct. Miers won’t have enough of a paper trail for anyone to effectively oppose her–unless a significant amount of conservative reaction falls along the lines of Mr. Miranda’s commentary.