Tyler Hahn: Harriet who?

Upon hearing that there were two vacancies at the Supreme Court, I couldn’t help but diabolically tap the tips of my fingers together, and let out a bellowing, contemptuous laugh at the sure to be ill-fated Roe v. Wade and other legal monstrosities that our high court has handed down over the years. It was a conservative’s dream come true: President Bush, a conservative Republican in office, and a Republican-controlled Senate. Surely, two known conservatives were to be nominated.

First Bush nominated John Roberts, a good man with outstanding legal credentials and a semi-solid history of conservatism. He certainly wasn’t the favorite of the far right side of the Republican Party, but was generally embraced by Republicans. There were potential nominees of a far more conservative persuasion whom the president could have chosen, but it seemed Bush was living up to his promise of being a uniter rather than a divider. Try as they might, the Democrats could find no solid objections to Roberts, and the Senate confirmed him with a vote of 78 to 22. Bush must have been saving the truly conservative nominee for Justice O’Conner’s position.

As I saw the snippet “Bush nominates Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court” scroll across the bottom of my television screen (tuned to FOX News of course), I had just one question: Harriet who? I immediately googled the name and found there was no useful information about her. Give it a few days, I thought; perhaps facts about her prior rulings and judicial positions would come forward. But, alas, they weren’t to come. Miers was never a judge, and has almost no paper trail indicating her “judicial philosophy,” to use the hot word of the day. The cold, stark truth is that Ms. Miers is a judicial nobody – a lawyer whose highest ranking positions were as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Association and counsel to the president for seven months. Are these the qualifications Americans expect of a Supreme Court justice?

I am not asking for another East Coast Ivy Leaguer to replace O’Conner. I do not care that Ms. Miers did not graduate from an elite law school – Southern Methodist University is fine with me. In fact, it isn’t even her lack of judicial experience that I, as a conservative, find worrisome; it is that Miers cannot be rightly called a judicial conservative. Miers’ lack of a judicial record seems to be as disconcerting to the right as it is to the left. But take comfort, America, CNN just announced that Miers is trying to get the records from her one-term stint as a Dallas city councilwoman – that should provide considerable insight.

What happened to our John Bolton-type nominations? Contentious, polarizing nominations are for what we college politicos live. To think that I could now be standing side by side with a – gulp – Democrat in opposition to a Bush nominee makes me teary-eyed. Ok, I wouldn’t go so far as to protest the woman – perhaps she will make a good justice, but this is not the arena in which to back down in some show of “bipartisan” concession; this is the Supreme Court. I am not accusing W of selling out – I love the man – but as a conservative I simply cannot take “trust me” as the basis for a nomination to the Supreme Court. We must remember that justices have an enormous impact on the laws of our nation that continuing long after he who nominates them leaves office – lest we forget the lessons of the Earl Warren disaster.

I hope that the president takes the constitutionally mandated advice and consent of the Senate – Republicans, anyway. This is an historic opportunity to appoint a justice to the court who will apply the constitution in the way the founding fathers intended, and I pray that it isn’t squandered to appease the left. I trust the president, and sincerely wish that whoever is confirmed serves our nation well. I am still holding out hope that the president will tell us this is a joke, and that the Karl Rove nomination is on the way.

-The writer is a sophomore majoring in Middle East studies.

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