Saturday, October 22, 2005

Harriet who?

Here in Our Nation's Capital, people who believe themselves to be in the know have already declared dead in the water the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. Today's revelations of her support for affirmative action have surely done her in on the right, while the do-over demanded by senators on the Judiciary Committee of the committee's questionnaire has pretty much finished her off for everybody else. (Her answers were described as "insulting" and "incomplete".)

At your blogstress's Oppo Factory, a mere saunter from the Great Temple of the High Court, visitors wonder aloud at the truly bizarre trajectory of this nomination. Your cybertrix, you'll recall, was the first to pronounce Ms. Miers too much of a hack to merit a nomination. (Three days later, The New Republic designated Miers as the Number One Hack in what it called the Bush Administration Hackocracy.)

The far right had their own issues with Miers, of course: she is a woman, and not one who has signed the blood oath all far-right female power figures take: "In exchange for a modicum of worldly power, I shall surrender the rest of womankind to the submission of authoritarian males." (Well, your Webwench may have paraphrased a bit, but you get the idea.)

Then came word of assurances given to James Dobson, king of the Focus on the Family media empire, that Miers would vote the right's way on matters relating to abortion. He knew this, he said, because Karl Rove (in between grand jury appearances) told him so. It seems, however, that a review of Miers's own record as a member of the Texas Bar would have made Rove's case. (So, okay, she might surrender pregnant womankind.)

The Judiciary Committee was not amused.

But the right-wing wooing didn't end there. A conference call was arranged for something called the Arlington Group--a cabal of right-wing hoo-has--that featured a couple of sitting judge pals of Miers attesting to her orthodoxy on matters of concern to the authoritarians. One of those judges today sits on a federal court. A bit unseemly, wouldn't you say, that he stepped down from his lofty post to lick some boots for the administration?

Let's not forget another priceless moment or two on Ms. Miers's journey back into sycophantic obscurity: the president's assertion that Miers's religious beliefs were a factor in his selection to the body that serves as the final arbiter of the First Amendment.

Alas, the torpedoing of the Miers nomination hardly saves the court from the judicial jihadis on the right. For a nuanced illustration of the conundrum faced by the opposition party, your net-tĂȘte turns, as she so often does, to Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker, whose shapely sentences leave her staring wantonly at the glossy page titled "Comment":

Sinking Miers’s nomination would give Democrats the satisfaction of dealing Bush a defeat while at the same time striking a blow against the intellectual degradation of the Court. But Bush’s next nominee would almost certainly be both more distinguished and more provably, fearsomely right wing. To fracture the formula of a founding father of modern conservatism, mediocrity in the defense of moderation isn’t much of a vice. And excellence in the pursuit of extremism is certainly no virtue.

The first AddieStan reader to name the "founding father of modern conservatism" cited by Hertzberg wins an autographed picture of your blogstress in her bustier.

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