With all the political kerfuffling occurring right now in the United States over Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the bench of the Supreme Court, I suppose it is time to let people know my true thoughts on the matter.
First of all, I have to admit that I am hamstrung in some of my commentary since I am living and typing away in Eastern Australia. The first and last time I was on American soil was just before Gulf War I. Despite this, I think I have a good grasp of what is going on in the land of the red white and blue.
Secondly, I have always been concerned with the notion that the US Supreme Court should be some monolithic, static organisation made up of people who have been appointed for life. Rather than having a set number of sitting judges, I think it would be far better to have terms of office granted to individuals who have proved from their experiences that they are capable of making decisions based upon the constitution. In practical terms, how about randomly picking from the pool of Federal judges the amount of Supreme Court judges you need, and allowing them to stay there for 4-6 years or so. When a judge's time is up, just randomly select another one. By doing this, the supreme court is picked from a pool of qualified candidates.
Thirdly, the need for a qualified individual in this area is paramount. You can't just nominate anyone to be a Federal Judge. I'm not talking here about Ivy League credentials or pedigree - I'm talking about someone who has shown through their life that they are professional and objective in their judicial work.
Fourthly, the process of picking the judge is overtly political. Bush choosing John Roberts as a conservative on the bench could easily be compared to Clinton's choice of Ruth Bader Ginsberg from the "Liberal" wing. Both were "wrong" in the sense that a person's politics determined their nomination. When it comes to the Supreme Court, candidates should be picked according to their skills as judges, not as political influences.
Having said all these things I'll make my call on Harriet Miers. She is an experienced lawyer. That's a good thing, but not enough to make me trust her on the Supreme Court. She is a born again Christian, which is great since I will be in heaven with her one day - but that's not enough for me to trust her as a Federal Judge. She is also one of President Bush's close advisors, which is not good because it gives the impression of her nomination as being cronyism. It does not give the impression that Miers would make decisions dispassionately and objectively.
All Democrats should reject Miers' nomination based simply upon her lack of qualifications for the job and her closeness to the president. All Republicans should use the exact same reason for opposing her nomination as well - regardless of the political damage it would do in the short term. If the Republican party support her nomination, it may shore up short-term political advantage but they will lose out on the long term - after all, by nominating Miers they would be promoting mediocrity and even cronyism.
The damage that Bush has wrought upon himself and the GOP via this nomination is his own silly fault. Reasonable Republicans need to realise this, and vote for what is right, rather than for what is politically expedient.
From the One Salient Overlord Department
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.