Does It Really Matter is Harriet Miers Would Overturn Roe v. Wade?

A lot of discussion has ensued over whether Harriet Miers would be a proponent of overturning Roe v. Wade if confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court. Indeed, for many, this is an extremely important because some see this as the single most important issue a Justice may influence. I believe, however, that those who focus on this issue are doing themselves, Miers, and their country a disservice. It is imperative to realize that the influence of a Justice is farmore sweeping than simply the question of abortion rights.

While not directly criticizing Miers at the moment (I’ll do that later), I believe one must review the overall qualifications and integrity of a Justice long before reviewing philosophy, ideology, and theology, and certainly well before considering the potential Justice’s view on individual issues. Why concern ourselves with these areas, qualifications and integrity, before those which would seem to have a more direct application to decisions and opinions? While philosophy, ideology, and theology may have a much more direct impact on a Justice’s influence, it is my assertion that without well established qualifications and integrity, that we cannot be certain if there will be any consistency to the application of one’s philosophy, ideology, and theology.

What does this mean, exactly? If a potential Justice is not an expert at handling herself on the bench, then how can she be expected to follow use her philosophy to, from the bench, ask the driving questions that might both confirm her views, and sway the views of other Justices? If her moral character is in question, if we must question her integrity, then how can we be assured that her personal views or philosophies will hold throughout her term, or even for a moment? And if these assurances cannot be made with some degree of confidence, then why would even bother having a discussion about personal views, philosophy, ideology, or even theology?

So then, let’s briefly examine Miers’ qualifications and integrity. On the qualifications end, about twenty to thirty years ago, Miers had clerked for a court, spent a good bit of time in a court room representing corporations, and has led a good-sized law firm. Since then, she’s been the president of the State Bar of Texas, sat on the Dallas City Council, worked as general counsel for George W. Bush, and been Bush’s personal lawyer. More recently, she’s chaired the Texas Lottery Commission, acted as Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary, has been appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, and has acted as chief legal adviser to the Office of the President.

That’s quite a resume, and I’d certainly like to have accomplished as much as she has by the time I’m her age. But regardless, the question that I raise: Is she qualified? Should someone who has never sat on a bench be appointed to the highest court? Should a man who has never held a gun or led a platoon be appointed as General to an army? Should a supervisor of judges at Arabian horse shows be appointed to direct FEMA? Every day I draw breath, I understand more and more that there is absolutely no substitute for direct experience. Unfortunately Miers has none.

Looking at Miers’ integrity, one does not have to look far to question it. Certainly the appointment of an individual who acted as the President’s personal lawyer to position after position smacks of cronyism. While the appointment to the Supreme Court is the opportunity of a life-time (literally), if I were put in a similar situation, I’d like to think I’d turn the position down, understanding that other personal influences, aside from my qualifications, were a factor in the decision to nominate me. Indeed, I think any individual with a decent sense of integrity should do the same.

I can find further fault with Miers integrity by looking back at her tenure at the Texas Lottery Commission. Hired to clean up a previous corruption scandal, Miers was later sued in a scandal over the firing of Lawrence Littwin, the executive director of the Lottery Commission, when he tried to hold the politically connected contractor, GTech, accountable for millions of dollars for breaches of contract. Miers eventually resigned from the Commission a year before her term ended. She claimed other reasons for her resignations. Who wouldn’t?

Is Miers’ legal philosophy, ideology, or theology aligned with what I believe would make a good candidate? The fact is, it doesn’t matter. Her lack of experience and integrity simply adds up to a very questionable candidate. Would Miers overturn Roe v. Wade? With her integrity in question, who knows what she’d do. Could Miers be effective? Without experience, I doubt it.

Comments 8

  1. Kevin wrote:

    While I agree with 95% of what you say, and agree Miers should not be appointed, I would say her lack of experience as a judge isn’t nessessarily a strike against her. After all, former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist served a similar position for President Nixon, and also had no judicial experience before Nixon appointed him as an assosiate justice in 1971. (He wasn’t raised to Chief Justice until 1986 under Reagan) I think we can agree he turned out to be one hell of a Supreme Court justice. Not that I’m saying that Miers is Rehnquist, but its a point that should be noted.

    Posted 30 Nov -0001 at 12:00 am
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    I don’t know enough about Rehnquist to say whether he was “one hell of a Supreme Court justice”. What’d he do that was so great?

    Posted 27 Oct 2005 at 2:16 pm
  3. Lightwave wrote:

    I guess my point is, that lacking experience, I would expect one to demonstrate something that would prove they are up to the task. Though I’m not a fan of Rehnquist, I’d agree that he was up to the task. Miers has demonstrated quite the opposite, I think, especially with her questionaire responses.

    The point now, seems to be somewhat moot however. Miers has withdrawn from the nomination.

    Posted 27 Oct 2005 at 5:16 pm
  4. Sean wrote:

    “Miers has withdrawn from the nomination.”

    Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

    Posted 28 Oct 2005 at 3:48 am
  5. Funky Dung wrote:

    not sure

    I didn’t necessarily want her to withdraw, just not be approved.

    Posted 28 Oct 2005 at 4:13 am
  6. Kevin wrote:

    Perhaps “hell of” was the wrong way of putting it, but Rehnquist proved to me more than capable for the job, and he was also one of two justices dissenting in the Roe vs. Wade decision. As to the question of Miers withdrawing was a good thing, I would have liked for her to have had an opportunity to testify and be given a real shot at the job. If she was unqualified than I think it would have been apparent almost immediately. The concept of due process has been completely thrown out the window in this county. The media decides if a person is qualified even before they are given a chance to prove themselves. The question is, do we really want to be trusting the media with a decision like that? Who knows if the objections to her have been engineered? We’ll never known now. I think its a sad day frankly.

    Posted 28 Oct 2005 at 5:37 am
  7. Sean wrote:

    Man news gets old fast these days. This story suddenly seems like its 2 weeks old.

    Posted 29 Oct 2005 at 5:29 am
  8. Jerry Nora wrote:

    Kevin, the media was pretty level in treating Miers, it was many of the people who elected Bush who flipped out with Miers.

    Posted 29 Oct 2005 at 4:10 pm

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *