Commenter “RP,” a personal friend of mine, sent me a link to an essay entitled “Miers and Roberts: A CEO’s Dream Team.” I recommend that you all have a look at it:
For those trying to make sense of President Bush’s decision to nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, here’s a question: What do Miers and John Roberts have in common, besides the fact that they were both nominated to the Supreme Court?
Answer: Both had substantial careers as corporate lawyers before being nominated. [...]
Unfortunately, this angle has been largely lost in the public debate over Miers. Instead, the media has focused on the infighting among conservatives about her credentials. [...]
[O]ne lesson we should have learned from the Bush presidency by now is that while social and intellectual conservatives are nice to have on your side, it is the large corporations that write the checks. And if you can throw a bone to those other groups now and then (like, say, coming out for a gay marriage amendment that has no chance of passage, or giving elegant speeches about your Christian faith), you can keep them in line.
But if you look closely at Bush’s record, you’ll see plenty of words about family values and religion and the virtues of small government, but plenty of actions on behalf of things like tort reform and bankruptcy reform.
Hence, John Roberts and now Harriet Miers. “Together, they could be a CEO’s dream team,” writes Business Week’s Woellert.
But here’s the real problem. While obviously important issues like affirmative action and abortion and the religion evoke all kinds of emotions and hence good copy, the Supreme Court also tackles a lot of mundane, technical stuff, including many business-relevant cases. And with Roberts and Miers on board, the court will be likely to tackle even more business-related cases. As Pat Cleary, the National Association of Manufacturers’ senior vice president wrote on the NAM’s website, “the reason we’re in this fray at all is because a S Ct Justice will spend far more of their time on issues of interest to manufacturers than they will on the social issues that seem to dominate the debate.”
Viewed in this light, the Miers nomination makes a bit more sense to me. I wondered what President Bush was thinking, nominating someone who (1) is simply unqualified for the position and (2) lacks sufficient right-wing street cred to mollify the “movement” conservatives. My assumption was that Bush simply wanted to reward his faithful crony, and that he figured the right wing could either trust him on this one or go to hell; he’s the President and can nominate whoever he wants to. Bush’s decision may have been a bit more cunning than I had supposed.
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