President George W. Bush made another of his surprising-but-not-that-surprising-once-you-think-about-it-because-it-is-Bush-we’re-talking-about moves on Monday when he nominated Harriet Miers to fill the spot on the U.S. Supreme Court to be vacated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
This decision, at first glance, is startling because Miers has never been a judge at any level.
Apparently, judicial experience is not a prerequisite for nomination to a seat on the nation’s highest court.
When Bush announced his pick, many must have been waiting for him to pause, look into the camera and say, “Just kidding.”
Instead, he said this: “A justice must be a person of accomplishment and sound legal judgment. A justice must be a person of fairness and unparalleled integrity. And a justice must strictly apply the Constitution and laws of the United States and not legislate from the bench.”
But a justice doesn’t have to be a judge?
This is why it makes sense for Bush: Miers has been his legal counsel for nearly a decade. In other words, Bush nominated his lawyer – a White House insider with views similar to his – to the Supreme Court. That is ludicrous and unacceptable. Has Bush not learned what happens when he appoints his friends to important posts?
Despite being the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Texas and Dallas Bar Association, Miers’ credentials do not warrant this nomination. Before working under Bush, she was Texas Lottery Commission chairwoman, an attorney in private practice and a Dallas City Council member. But she has been an outspoken supporter of the Bush administration, the only credential Bush seems concerned about and what he based his decision on.
Surely there is someone more qualified – not to mention more moderate – to fill O’Connor’s spot on the bench.
Many troubling questions swirl around this nomination.
Will the American public be able trust Miers should she ever be put into the position to pass judgment on the president or his staff? Will she base her votes on politics rather than the constitution? Will she be impartial if Bush, for some reason, is impeached in the next three years?But does it even matter? A cloud of suspicion will follow Miers. A justice should be impartial and unbiased. Miers, no matter what, can’t be either.
In nominating her, Bush is putting into question the integrity and credibility of our highest and most powerful court. The Republican-controlled Congress must put politics aside and do everything in its power to ensure Miers is not confirmed.