Friday, October 28, 2005

Miers Wins By Withdrawing

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers submitted her letter of withdrawal to President Bush today saying, in part:

I write to withdraw as a nominee to serve as an Associate Justice on the
Supreme Court of the United States. I have been greatly honored and humbled by
the confidence that you have shown in me, and have appreciated immensely your
support and the support of many others. However, I am concerned that the
confirmation process presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is
not in the best interest of the country.

I voiced my opposition to the nomination earlier, exercising particular caution to point out that it was not personal. I have absolutely nothing against Harriet Miers as a person. What limited information I knew about her as a person seemed to paint a picture of an educated, decent, and competent individual.

It was the information I didn't know about her that bothered me. Was she liberal, moderate, or conservative? Each day different reports moved the compass in entirely different directions. It was impossible to distinguish the fact from fiction, the hype from the reality. In my heart of hearts, I felt if she was indeed a strict constructionist, I would have to look no further than the other side of the aisle for conformation. That confirmation never came. I knew.

I consider The United States Constitution to be one of the most important documents in the history of mankind. It is the rock on which this republic was built. It should be interpreted as to the true intent of its authors and not altered to fit circumstances. It is as relevant now as it was when the ink was wet.

Our founding fathers knew the Republic would have little chance of long term survival if the principles upon which it was founded were not rock solid. They also allowed for changing times by outlining the amendment process in Article V:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary,
shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the
legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for
proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and
purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of
three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof,
as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress;
provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand
eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses
in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its
consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Notice the process refers to the Legislative Branch, not the Judicial Branch. The role of the Judicial Branch is to determine whether amendments pass the constitutional smell test, not write law from the bench. The Constitution does not grant them that power. It is vitally important that those who would serve on the Supreme Court understand this

This is precisely why I could not support Miers nomination. It had nothing to do with qualifications or personality traits. I simply did not know, when the moment of truth came, whether she would honor it or usurp it. She may have done the right thing, but I didn't have that assurance.

Since Miers felt, and rightly so, that she could not compromise the Executive Branch by releasing confidential documents or testifying directly about her service to same, she demonstrated an understanding of separate but equal branches of government. If nothing else, this gave me some assurance that President Bush actually nominated someone he felt would honor the intentions of our founders.

Had the nomination gone through, the naysayers, myself included, may have been proven wrong, but given the information available to us, we were well within our rights to raise the questions.

Harriet Miers may have withdrawn her nomination, but in the final analysis she won. She spared herself the agony that would surely come from being asked questions she knew she couldn't answer and she put aside any personal ambition to do what was, in her words, in the best interest of the country. For that alone, she has won my admiration and respect.

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Thanks to: Stop the ACLU, California Conservative, The Political Teen, Basil's Blog, and Euphoric Reality.

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