Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Help from home

In the latest effort by President Bush to stem the criticism over Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, some of her former judicial colleagues from Texas have been asked to come to her defense:

WASHINGTON - The White House on Monday called in a posse of six former Texas Supreme Court justices to counter some of the criticism being leveled at embattled Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers.

The two Democrats and four Republicans, each of whom either worked directly with Miers or knows her professionally, met with President Bush and later spoke with reporters in the White House driveway, touting the nominee's qualifications and temperament.

"She analyzes issues, she gets her facts lined up, and she always does the right thing for the right reasons," said former Chief Justice John Hill Jr., a Houston Democrat who worked with Miers at the Texas Lottery Commission and later at Locke, Liddell & Sapp.

This doesn't hearten me much. A democrat's definition of "the right thing" often leaves a lot to be desired.

Bush's nomination of Miers two weeks ago kicked up a storm of dissent among conservatives, with many questioning whether Miers, who has never been a judge, was qualified for the Supreme Court and claiming that her selection looked like cronyism.

Concerned that criticism of Miers could harm her prospects for confirmation in the Senate, administration officials are intensifying efforts to highlight her qualifications, starting with the former Texas justices.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican and former Harris County state district judge appointed by Bush to the Texas Supreme Court in 1995, said he worked with Miers on constitutional law issues while she was White House counsel.

"I was dealing with a lawyer of top-notch legal ability who was able to quickly grasp the nuances of very challenging constitutional issues," Abbott said.

The word "nuances" always makes me uneasy when used in reference to the Constitution. It is often thrown about by elitists and those of "higher intellect" in an attempt to see things in the document that aren't actually there. The language in the Constitution is a fairly concise and straight-forward despite what some would have us believe.

Nothing that has been said here has done anything to sway me either way on Miers. At this point I'm not bowled over by the President's choice but much remains to be seen.

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