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October 11, 2005

In which a Miers supporter finally loses it

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the—if the—if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement."
Bill Clinton, Grand Jury testimony (Aug. 17, 1998)

I have a lot of respect for Hugh Hewitt, but I think he's taking his Miers cheerleading a little too far. I suspect that when whatever happens actually happens, he'll look back and realize exactly that.

Meanwhile, I'd like to introduce his two new arguments.

First, when Bush promised to nominate justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, you can't really take him too seriously.
When Bush said "like Scalia or Thomas" many people heard many things. I think it is very safe to say that the vast majority of American voters did not hear "justices committed to a particular theory...of textualism or originalism." I think they heard "justices who aren't making stuff up," or "justices who aren't full of themselves," or "justices who will not impose same sex marriage or overturn every juvenile death penalty in the land or import EEC law on a whim."

I think they heard "results," and if I am right, Bush has not only not broken his promise, he may be well on his way to fulfilling it twice and hopefully more times over.
This is why I quoted Bill Clinton at the top of the post. It depends on the meaning of "Scalia and Thomas." If Bush meant (Hewitt: "people heard") simply "justices who aren't making stuff up," he could have mentioned Rehnquist, who didn't make stuff up, but who isn't as popular with "the base." He could have said "justices who aren't making stuff up." He specifically said "Scalia and Thomas." Yes, he also mentioned he wanted a "strict constructionist," but that's a politician's term. Proving that Scalia is not a "strict constructionist" but rather an "originalist" (a judge's term) -- as Anne Althouse does -- is no way to justify the "Scalia and Thomas" promise.

Second, Hewitt argues that good authority supports his view that Miers is a trustworthy nominee. Now, follow this one closely. Hewitt interviewed Professor Lino Graglia, a Federalist Society stalwart, and asked him for his opinion of Nathan Hecht. Why? Because Nathan Hecht has offered an opinion of Harriet Miers. Here's the relevant exchange:
HH: I should have asked this at the beginning. Do you know Harriet Miers?

LG: I do not, no.

HH: Do you know Nathan Hecht?

LG: I know Nathan Hecht.

HH: Do you trust him?

LG: Nathan Hecht is very trustworthy. Nathan Hecht is probably the most conservative judge on the Texas Supreme Court, very trustworthy. He speaks very highly of Miers, who he knows, and that is a large part of my basis of belief that she'll be all right.
Trial lawyer stuff, but leave that aside. Graglia vouches for the conservative bona fides of Nathan Hecht, who vouches for the conservative bona fides of Harriet Miers. Hecht also has dated Miers at some points over the past couple of decades.

So the White House gives us nothing on Miers, but we should be happy because in this Tinker to Evers to Chance vouching, we know what Lino Graglia thinks of Hecht.

But I don't recall that Evers was ever dating Chance.