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October 09, 2005

Harriet Miers gets some advice

The cliché is that it's better to ask forgiveness than to seek permission. That seems to be the President's approach to the Harriet Miers nomination. Act first, ask questions later. And now he's not exactly asking forgiveness.

So what we have is some gratuitous advice from people whose advice we generally don't want to ask for -- like Arlen Specter, who offers this:

. . . Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who presides over confirmation hearings, offered a blunt assessment that was yet another sign that the nominee faced an uphill battle on Capitol Hill. Though Mr. Specter called Ms. Miers "intellectually able," he said she had a "fair-sized job to do" to become fluent in the language of constitutional law, which will be essential for senators who want to examine her judicial philosophy in deciding whether to confirm her.

"She needs more than murder boards," Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in an interview, referring to the mock question-and-answer sessions most nominees use to prepare for their confirmation hearings. "She needs a crash course in constitutional law."
Constitutional law, you say? Gee, shouldn't someone have thought about that a little earlier, like before she was chosen?

And Bruce Fein (you know, that guy you want to punch out whenever you see him on TV) offers some advice to Democrats:
"If I was a Democrat and I wanted to destroy her candidacy, I'd go to constitutional law professors and experts and get the 60 key Supreme Court decisions," Fein said. The committee members could then go through the list and ask her, "'Have you read this case from beginning to end?' And when she says for the 59th time, 'No, I haven't,' I'd say, 'Why are you going to be on the Supreme Court?'"
It's exactly this problem that leads those of us who are highly skeptical of the nomination to complain about it.

UPDATE: For those who can't get enough of this stuff, check out these two links (via confirmthem) to Mark Kilmer's summary of the Sunday morning talk shows and to a handy-dandy summary at Right-Side Redux of the arguments pro and con (with sources and organized by quality of argument).