Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dusting Off The Cobwebs

After recovering from a severe case of blogstipation and placing my hand into a lot of different projects, I'm drawn back today by the incredible amount of controversy generated by the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Many strong conservatives have expressed outrage at President Bush's pick, particularly because of fears that she will be too liberal. This near-contagious fear of getting another David Souter (the stealth liberal that Bush Sr. nominated and got confirmed) has some on the Right, particularly religious conservatives, absolutely terrified. Democrats are mostly witholding judgment, although I can't imagine them not opposing something that Bush is trying to do out of principle alone. The issue came to the forefront in yesterday's issue of the DA, where College Republicans president Jason Gray and Young Democrats president LJ Ulrich both weighed in with opinion columns on the subject.

(Two quick notes before I go any further. First of all, kudos to the DA for attempting to finally balance the editorial page out. It's now much more representative of the campus as a whole, and except for The Musket, it remains the main venue for political thought at WVU. The other note is for Ulrich, who I don't think has any idea what a neoconservative really is. He used the term throughout his column to describe what he perceives as radical conservatives, but that's not exactly what a neocon is. Loosely speaking, neoconservatives are often converted liberals with a hawkish stance on national security. Some, however, consider Jewish conservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz to be the rightful owners of the title. It was originally coined as a slightly derogatory term, but the word has adopted multiple meanings. I can understand how Ulrich would use it to attack opponents, because it is often used as a negative descriptor by liberal commentators; however, people who call themselves neocons do not share the liberal usage of the term, so that use is disputed. For more on this, check this National Review article and this Wikipedia entry. Also stop by the Wikipedia article's talk page; you'll learn a lot about objectivity while finding out just how much people mess around with this word.)

When talking about Miers, Ulrich and Gray both seemed to be against her confirmation. Ulrich's opposition is about as surprising as the sunrise, but Gray got me thinking about the reasons why a large chunk of the conservative base is against her. I'm beginning to suspect that many conservatives have become so impassioned about their causes - especially religious conservatives - that they want judges who will act decisively to accomplish certain goals, namely the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Guess what? That's called "judicial activism," and it's the embodiment of everything that a true conservative stands against. We need to spend more time looking for constructionists who will uphold the US Constitution. If Roe v. Wade isn't constitutional, then it needs to die; if it is, it needs to survive. I know many on the Right are passionately pro-life, but passions for any issue should not hold sway upon the bench. That's one of the reasons why I like John Roberts so much; he decides with the law in mind first, which is how it should be. We are not electing Congressmen to represent our views. We are pushing for fair-minded judges, and we need to leave it at that.

That said, I think the White House could have done a much better job of promoting this choice. When Bush replied to skepticism with a simple "trust me", it was hard for me to believe it. I'm a pretty big fan of W, but you can only put so much blind faith in somebody. I have a feeling he knows what he's picking better than we do, but the least he could have done was given us some more details about her. The fact is, she's almost unproven. She appears to be very pro-life (and worries about her past donations to Dems have been tempered by her subsequent conversion to the Republican party), but that bears nothing on how she would handle the Constitution. Objections to her have nothing to do with what Laura Bush called "sexism"; that's a loaded word that usually gets used by upset liberals and should never have left her mouth. Anyone with half a brain knows that no one on the Right would have been upset to see Janice Rogers Brown, a lady who I have great respect for, nominated instead. I have a feeling that Miers was the best option left for Bush after others in the running (possibly including Brown) opted not to be considered because of how vitriolic the scrutiny was becoming. She could be a slightly more conservative answer to Ruth Bader Ginsburg; then again, she could be the Left's worst nightmare. With as little as we know right now, we'll just have to wait and see. Rebelling against Bush's choice too quickly will play directly into the Democrats' hands.

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