The Carpetbagger Sunday Discussion Group (a good forum, btw) asks what Dems should do regarding the Miers nomination; and whether we should support or oppose her, with the idea that a Miers replacement nominee might be far more conservative; and thus a worse choice for us. Here’s what I wrote over there:
Without knowing more about Miers or her hypothetical replacement, I think we need to reject her. As I may have said before, I'd rather have a competent ultra-conservative than an incompetent Bush lackey, even if she is more moderate. Because the importance of this court demands great minds, even if they disagree with us.
For example, Publius at Legal Fiction suggests that a Miers will be far more torture-friendly, if/when these issues are brought to the court, than a Scalia would be. Not because she supports torture, but because she supports Bush. Or think about a federal law banning abortion. A Miers is more likely to support that than a state's rights minded conservative would. Because she might not be thinking of the federalist principles involved, but rather of the “murdered babies” or perhaps of Republican political demands. And while an “originalist” would probably oppose a federal ban on abortion, an anti-abortion fundamentalist would definitely support one. And a Bush lackey will take the side that best benefits the administration.
People without principled stances and who lack a deep understanding of the issues should not be trusted in these kinds of positions. They vote their heart, rather than their mind. And I'd rather have another Scalia than a dopey Bush loyalist who lacks overarching principles; and who will rule in a capricious fashion.
And while there is the possibility that we might end up with a Bush-lackey who is also an ultra-conservative; I put that as being the long-shot. If Miers gets shot down, I find it much more likely that they’ll pick a fairly strong conservative with an impeccable “originalist” resume. But overall, I think we need to reject the lackey we’ve got, and not the one that might be.
And the fact that this will embarrass Bush and weaken his imagined strength is just the icing on the cake. The more Bush looks like a weak president, the more the media will dig in and report the truth about him (or even make shit up, as is their wont). And the less that Congress will bow down to him.
I should add that, while we reject Miers, we shouldn’t be strident or outright about it. As that’s the surest way of drumming up strong support for Bush from the Republicans. Harry Reid was right in praising Miers, but let’s not get crazy about this. She’s a bad choice who needs to be rejected, but we must remain civil.