Friday, October 07, 2005

If you're not outraged . . .

There is no way the nomination of Harriet Miers should stand following the disclosure of a recording of yesterday's conference call, sponsored by the White House, among party loyaltists nationwide. This is true for all the reasons Eric Muller has begun to articulate and more. But you don't really need to get beyond RNC chair Ken Mehlman's opening statement, a part of which went something like this:

Harriet Miers has served with distinction at a time when she was the top legal adviser to the president on some critically important issues, whether the issue was whether to renominate Janice Rogers brown, Priscilla Owen, Bill Pryor, whether the question was where the administration ought to come out on key policy matters that affect the judiciary, that affect family, that affect other issues. The president’s positions have been very strong, and we know his top adviser has been Harriet Miers. So when people say, well, we know the president’s got the right approach but how do we know Harriet Miers does, it’s like someone saying the president has the right position on the war on terror but we don’t know if Donald Rumsfeld does. The fact is she is his key adviser on these issues.

One of the most important and I think troubling areas where we’ve seen judicial activism recently is in the ability of any administration in the future to carry out its leaderhip in the global war on terror. I think having someone who has real world experience when future issues come up who will be able to say here are the real world practical implications of when, for instance, the courts hamstring the ability of the administration, the defense department, or somebody else to deal with the terrorist threat we face, I think that’s an important and unique perspective that someone who has spent her whole life on the courts doesn’t have, but someone who has served in the White House particularly this White House does have.

So much for the independent judiciary. "Crony" is far too weak a word for this relationship. And if it's "judicial activism" to refuse to grant a president powers that he has never had, the arguments for which stretch the outer limits of the conceivable meaning of the Constitution, then so much for the hope of a court that tries in good faith to discern what that Contitution means.

UPDATE: Complete transcript of the call (via Crooks and Liars).

MORE: O'Connor and Hamilton weigh in.

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