Monday, October 03, 2005

President Bush's new pick for SC: Harriet "Who?!!" Miers

Once again messing with the heads of the nation, President Bush bypassed every hope (Owen, Brown, Luttig) and fear (Gonzalez) of his constituency, and named unknown lawyer/friend Harriet Miers. This unknown woman is about to become well-known.

WorldMag's blog has a series of interesting posts, the upshot of which is encouraging at least to this conservative Christian.

To me, the single most interesting factoid about Harriet Miers is the President's remark that Miers "has given generously of her time and talent by serving as a leader with ...Exodus Ministries." If by "Exodus Ministries" he means Exodus International, the organization dedicated to helping people find freedom from homosexuality, this is going to be really, really fun. Will she and/or the White House cave, get all apologetic, distance, resign, disown? Or will they just hang tough, and we all get to watch the Dems' heads spin around as they spew pea soup?

But if it is true that she has embraced and led in that organization, then she's got a position that is conservative among conservatives, and that is very heartening. [However, see Update II, below.]

As I find other informative articles, I plan to provide updates.

UPDATE I: it's interesting to me that my little unknown self is the only one so far to say much about the Exodus mention. I predict that this will become a HUGE issue in the upcoming discussion. Mark it down. [However, once again, see Update II, below.]

Hugh Hewitt, who consistently ignores this site for some reason, later linked as I did to WORLD's posts, and is himself characteristically supportive of the president. Also characteristically, Michelle Malkin is less so, and gives a blogroll of those similarly unimpressed. But Leonard Leo is positively giddy at the prospect. And, of more import to me, the formidably effective Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ is very supportive of her nomination.

UPDATE II: evidently Exodus Ministry is not Exodus International (note: that link goes "New England's Largest Gay [sic] and Lesbian Newspaper"). Exodus Ministries describes itself as "is a place where ex-offenders learn how faith in Christ is the first step from captivity to freedom." It's based in Dallas, Texas, and helps ex-convicts by discipling them in faith in Christ, with Bible studies and re-entry-type programs. Looks to be all-good; just not the specifically in-your-face ministry it seemed to be at first.

UPDATE III: John Podhoretz offers some well-considered, hard-to-refute reservations about elevating a relatively undistinguished, unaccomplished, non-scholar non-writer non-debater to this historic position. Read this and say "Ouch":
Harriet Miers might be a very fine person. She might be a good lawyer. Her boss, President Bush, certainly thinks a lot of her work as staff secretary and policy aide.

But it is highly unlikely that she will be a good Supreme Court justice, because there is no indication in her 35 years in professional life that she has intellectual interests, that she has committed herself to the study of Constitutional theory and practice or even that she can write a decent English sentence. And it beggars reason to think that a person at the age of 60 can suddenly emerge as an intellectual powerhouse.

On the other hand, James Dobson likes her, and I like James Dobson. What does he know that we don't?

Richard S. Dunham of Business Week offers a very even-handed, basically positive assessment in The Real Harriet Miers.

John Tabin of The American Spectator offers some positive perspective, advises us to take a deep breath -- and then to hold it.

Here's how I see it right now. I only have three main reasons to feel positive about this nomination: 1. She seems to be an active, genuine Christian; 2. President Bush knows her, trusts her, knows the stakes, and he's a mean poker player; 3. I like the people who like her (though I also like some of the people who dislike her... and don't think much of some others who do). So I'll keep an open and positive mind... but....

I am forced to agree at present with those who feel that our country needs a gully-washer of an open, public debate about the role of the Executive Branch, the Senate, the Court, and the Constitution; and I'd much rather the President have selected a sterling, competent, known-quantity candidate, and fought to the last man for him/her. Conservatives would have rallied, and it could have been great for America.

Maybe the President felt that at this point in the Global War on Terror, this fight would not be for the best. Maybe he felt that a lawyer with GWOT experience, who is sympathetic to Executive Branch powers, would be best for the war. Maybe he has good, political reasons I don't know.

But he's asking a lot of his base, and not at the best of times. I just pray he's done the right thing.

UPDATE IV: drawing upon his formidable reserves of prissiness, George Will blasts the President's choice. Much as one sometimes wishes that he could purchase Mr. Will for what he is worth and then sell him for what he thinks he is worth, he does make some damaging points. The tenor of his argument is that the President has forfeited the right to the benefit of a doubt, that the nominee must be proven (not assumed) to be worthy, and that such proof is lacking in Miers' case.

Marvin and Peter Olasky make the case that Miers will likely be immune to enticements to drift leftward on the Court.

The New York Times describes Miers' conversion to Christ as if narrating the practices of an obscure tribe in Borneo. Nonetheless, it gives a fair try, and what seems like an even-handed article. The Washington Post also makes a surprisingly good attempt to do the same thing. Both, however, are surely intended to alarm liberals, as both speak of her faith in Christ as deep and life-forming, and both give reason to believe she has strong pro-life creds.

The Washington Times also weighs in, adding the detail that Miss Miers called her pastor and a longtime Christian friend Sunday night, asking them to pray for her, but saying she wasn't able to tell them why. That says good things about her character and her convictions. But does it say everything?

As I explained earlier, I do find her Christian testimony encouraging. But I have to add this. First, generally: some of the most miserable fools I've known have had a credible Christian testimony. I say that as a Christian. Specifically: Judge Greer, the man who inexcusably condemned Teri Schiavo to starve to death, was a member in good standing of a Baptist church whose convictions (it turned out) were very different than his own. Hm, having said that, the name "Clinton" also comes to mind....

Sang in the choir, didn't he?

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