Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why I Oppose Harriet Miers

One of my liberal co-workers asked me why conservatives are opposing Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court. He felt that she would probably be a reliable "yes" vote for the conservative point of view on the court.

This particular co-worker is one of the top analysts in my agency and is always involved in high level debates regarding agency policy. I asked him how he dealt with reliable "yes" people who took part in policy meetings. "I ignore them," was his answer.

And that is my major problem with Harriet Miers. There are only nine voices on the Supreme Court of the United States. Right now we have two conservatives (Scalia and Thomas), four liberals (Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Souter), a swing conservative (Kennedy) and an unknown (Roberts). Let's assume that Roberts is a conservative...that leaves us with a 3 to 4 split with Kennedy in the middle.

If conservatives have any hope of prevailing, they need to convince Kennedy or one of the liberals to cross over. We need every persuasive vote we can muster to sit at that table and participate in the debate. Putting a reliable "yes" person at the table means we have a 4 to 4 split when it comes time to vote...but one of our voices is going to be ignored during the debate before the vote.

I want as many influential, thoughtful, brilliant conservative voices as possible at that table during those debates. Harriet Miers has had an admirable career...but there does not seem to be anything in her background that gives me comfort that she would be a valuable conservative voice on the High Court.


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