October 14, 2005
Harriet Through The Looking Glass

The level of ignorance in the no-mind MSM of the Supreme Court and how it functions is appalling. Here is the ever-egregious The Note:

“Former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully offers a somewhat strange defense of Harriet Miers on the New York Times op-ed page citing her attention to detail and sweetness as incredibly important attributes for the Supreme Court.”

“Somewhat strange?” WTF? I don’t know if Harriet Miers really is detail-oriented or a sweet lady. But I do know that if she is, both of those attributes will tend to make her a more powerful justice.

Remember, these are lifetime appointments, and the drip-drip effect of both being nice and being good with details becomes enormous as season after season rolls by. It was well-known that William J. Brennan’s relentless friendliness, gentleness, and courtesy made him one of the most effective justices in recent memory because it enabled him over the course of many years to bring together, and hold together, the votes of seemingly disparate justices, and that, on the flip side, Antonin Scalia’s ill-temper, impatience, and acidity have marginalized him and alienated his colleagues, no doubt costing him many votes and much power over the years. As to the detail orientation, Thurgood Marshall’s inattention to detail made him a far less effective and historically important justice, while by the same token, it is David Souter’s penchant for sweating the details, including doing most of his own drafting, that has allowed him to craft an admirably consistent, and therefore, in the long run, influential, body of jurisprudence.

Of all this, The Note is apparently ignorant. It may be as a result of this kind of ignorance about how the court works and what makes an effective justice that the entire Harriet Miers debate is so upside-down and through the looking-glass: she is attacked as unqualified by the know-nothings, whereas in truth in the résumé sense, she is the most qualified nominee in years. In the same cracked-mirror, up-is-down way, in terms of her politics and religion, and personal devotion to Bush and big business – the very things that the right wing should be celebrating and that the Democrats could and should legitimately oppose Miers on – she is attacked by the right, while Democrats give her nothing but a silent thumbs-up. Now that, my friends, is truly somewhat strange.

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Posted by Wayne Uff at October 14, 2005 02:55 PM
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