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ISSUE 119 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 10/28/2005

Bush continues friendly appointment

By Byron Vierk
Staff Writer

Friday, October 28, 2005

When President George W. Bush nominated Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court, most political pundits saw Roberts as not only the safest choice, but also as a choice who would deflect most of the Inquisition-style personality and background checks which would accompany a controversial nominee. Roberts lived up to his reputation for blandness, skillfully dodging every question he thought too revealing and refusing to answer questions which would have shown how he would rule on certain cases.

However, despite his evasiveness and the lack of real information about him, Roberts is a judge with an excellent legal record. He has served at the high levels of judicial power and has shown, as President Bush said, “a true and deep love of the law.” It’s not too optimistic to believe that Roberts will be a Justice in the same vein as former Chief Justice Rehnquist: a man with his own strong personal beliefs, but an even stronger belief in the rule of law.

Perhaps that’s why Bush’s newest nominee, Harriet Miers, feels like such a snake in the grass. If Miers really is, as President Bush has said, “The best person he could find,” then the president certainly needs to hire a new exploratory committee. Not only is Miers completely unqualified to be a supreme court justice, but the amount of cronyism exhibited by her nomination is sickening, especially after Hurricane Katrina illustrated just how badly things can get when the underqualified are appointed to positions they do not deserve.

Miers has known Bush since the 1980s, serving the Bush clan as a loyal advisor and family friend. Bush and Miers first met in Texas, where she was his personal lawyer; she then served on his gubernatorial campaign in 1994 and his presidential campaign in 2000.

Officially, she is President Bush’s deputy chief of staff for policy, a position she has held since Bush’s re-election in 2004. Yet the best description of Miers has to be the one Bush gave, in yet another of his breathtaking analogies: “[Miers] is a pit bull in size six shoes.”

While Miers did have an impressive legal career as a lawyer in the 80s and early 90s, she has never served on a bench anywhere. President Bush countered this criticism by saying, “It’s important to bring in somebody from the outside. People will get to see her character and a sense of her judicial philosophy … she will bring dignity to the bench.”

And while she’s bringing that dignity to the bench, Miers will also bring a lack of reviewable Judicial experience and absolutely no way for the American people to ascertain whether or not she is qualified to be a supreme court justice. As with John Roberts before Miers President Bush seems to think that Congress and the American people are on a “need to know” basis concerning her the judicial mindset – and we don’t need to know.

Perhaps most troubling is the shocking apathy of Democrats. Imagine that Justice Rehnquist had died during the Clinton administration and President Clinton had appointed his family lawyer to the bench instead of one of the hundreds of qualified federal judges across America. Republicans would have screamed bloody murder, and the Democrats would have been foolish to defend such a choice.

Apparently the double standard, “do as I say not as I do” is going to continue vis-a-vis Republicans and Democrats: Miers has been roundly defended by Republican senators from Orrin Hatch (Utah) to Bill Frist (Tenn.) It just doesn’t make any sense.

Bush Administration apologists and hard-line right-wingers aside, any reasonable person should be able to see that Miers simply lacks the necessary experience to hold one of the highest judicial offices in the United States. Her nomination is an insult not only to the Supreme Court, but also to the many other qualified judges, both male and female, who were passed over in favor of blatant cronyism. President Bush has said that Miers will “have the same judicial philosophy for twenty years.”

Maybe so, but she should keep that philosophy to herself.

Staff writer Byron Vierk is a senior from Lincoln, Neb. He majors in history and religion.

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