Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Meaning of Miers

Two thoughts:

1) A friend has pointed out that putting up an originalist/pro-life nominee and having that nominee lose in committee and ultimately, after the nuclear option or due to it, on the floor of the Senate would be much worse banishment of Republican jurisprudential views from broad acceptability than is the current, conciliatory stealth approach. Rather than viewing all occasions as an opportunity to confront the adversary, the President has rightly shown good judgement in avoiding unnecessary controversy in a context of generally increasing, incremental acceptance of originalism and restrained jurisprudence.

2) President Bush conducted the most extensive Senate consultation in history, perhaps 70 senators out of 100. Those Senators were more liable to share their considered political judgment in private with the president than with the press (moderate Republicans were key to the vote). Therefore, his decision was 1) a sober analysis of the current political landscape, and 2) an attempt at building bridges with the Democrats. Bush has no more elections to win but he would like to get things done: peace with the Democrats is key to Social Security reform. Harry Ried proposed Harriet Miers...


Anonymous said...

". . . would be much worse banishment of Republican jurisprudential views from broad acceptability than is the current, conciliatory stealth approach."

Is it just me, or is there something fundamentally weird here? A "stealth approach" to "broad acceptability"? What, the plan is to trick people into agreeing with you? (Does it involve putting something in the water?) If the jurisprudential views in question are so surpassingly meritorious, why not let them fend for themselves and prevail on those merits?

"peace with the Democrats is key to Social Security reform."

Huh? First, last I checked, the legislative and executive branches were firmly in Republican hands, so I'm not sure how Democrats could be key. The near-universal unpopularity of the so-called reforms that have been floated might have something to do with the fact that they've stalled.

Second, do you really think that this nomination is going to bring any kind of peace? I mean, she may be less objectionable to Democrats as a prima facie matter than some other potential nominees, but that's merely insofar as she's not known to be something Democrats would find objectionable; but surely she's not an affirmatively desireable nominee from the Democrats' perspective.

Charles Iragui said...


1) By turning judicial philosophy into a test of power, the slow acceptance of originalism and judicial restraint could be set back. (See earlier post of Akhil Amar article for direct evidence of this growing acceptance.)

2) a) It is not a secret that the Democrats have adopted a strict opposition strategy this year, and to good effect: they have demonstrated that they can stymie Bush. b) Social Security is the paradigm of a policy calling for bipartisan support; it was till Bush's brave foray called the "third rail" of American politics. Simply having a majority is not enough. Bush's first proposal, that the top 2/3 of income earners would be reindexed to inflation rather than wages, was already a compromise: it could have been proposed by a Democrat.