President Bush said that the reason he nominated Harriet Miers to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is that "she is not going to change. Twenty years from now she will be the same." Although we haven't heard that from Ms. Miers, if it is true, it is reason alone to oppose and fear her nomination. Since when did the failure or inability to learn become a virtue? And when did the possibility to change one's mind based on new learning become a vice? I can't think of a worse thing for my friends to think about me than to believe that in the next twenty years I will not grow. And I can't think of a worse thing to say about a Supreme Court justice than to say in 20 years on the bench she will not have learned a thing.
David Brooks expressed his disappointment with the nomination in a very interesting way. He said the conservative movement in this country was primarily one of ideas, and this nomination doesn't say anything about ideas. He's right. Although I seldom found myself agreeing with the ideas, at least during the Reagan years there were some to wrap my mind around. But here, the country is presented with a nominee who has no apparent history and whose thoughts and writings will be wrapped in the shroud of executive privilege. The Senate is going to be asked to confirm her because the president says, "Trust me." It might be more important to know some of those ideas that will not change.
Maybe we are learning some of them as a result of the company she is keeping. The fact that John Roberts is a Roman Catholic was intentionally kept off the primary-issue table during his nomination, and rightly so. But Ms. Miers's evangelical Christianity has been put in the center of the table and is being shown as a strong credential for her confirmation. Although at first I felt good about her nomination because of her skills as a lawyer working in the trenches, as we learn more about her it seems the country ought to be very afraid because her only real credential may be her loyalty to the king.
Thomas H. Dahl
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