I posted earlier about the opposing opinions on the Harriet Miers nomination that I get from my morning and afternoon commute. Laura Ingraham opposes the nomination, and Hugh Hewitt supports the nomination.
When President Bush first made the announcement, I was stunned. Disappointed. Clueless. She wasn't one of the names on "short list" of everyone in the know. Laura (who is an attorney and who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) and Hugh (who is a Constitutional Law professor at Chapman University Law School) both had very similar short lists that included Michael Luttig and Michael McConnell. On the day of the nomination, however, it became very clear that Laura and Hugh were headed in opposite directions about the worthiness of Harriet Miers.
I remained hopelessly undecided.
Until this past Thursday.
I've listened to Laura and Hugh on the radio for the past couple weeks, listened to the guests they had on their shows to talk about the nomination and the nominee, and read the arguments on both sides of the question. It wasn't until Thursday on my drive to work that I realized I had left the ranks of the undecided. Laura was talking against the nomination, and I turned my car radio off, because I couldn't listen anymore.
When Laura was coming back from a break, they played a sound clip from a debate between Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer. Scalia was telling Breyer that Breyer only selected those decisions made by international courts that supported Breyer's views and ignored the others.
When Laura started talking about the Miers nomination, she quoted John Fund, Bill Kristol, and other opponents of Miers. But she didn't mention Fred Barnes, Hugh Hewitt, Ken Starr, or Jay Sekulow, all of whom support the Miers nomination. She was doing exactly the same picking and choosing that she criticized Breyer of doing when she played the Scalia/Breyer debate sound bite.
In the end, I found Hugh's arguments more compelling. Constitutional law is not rocket science. The Constitution is short and quickly read--even with all those ammendments--and it's fairly easy to understand. Since conservatives are looking for an originalist or a strict constructionist (someone who will look to the Constitution itself and not make stuff up that the Constitution doesn't say), then we don't need a nominee who has spent his or her entire career analyzing the kind of constitutional case law that determines that localized endangered toads threatened by a housing development somehow fall under the interstate commerce provisions of the Constitution.
Since the Constitution isn't that hard, and the constitutional legal establishment is starting to sound like they're suffering from some intellectual inbreeding, now seems like as good a time as any for some fresh blood to be introduced into the "family." Provided that the fresh blood is sharp and capable. Hugh has posted emails and links to blogs that have spelled out the stellar qualities of Harriet Miers. Here's just one of those posts.
It seems to me, based on the instantaneous reaction against Miers' nomination, followed still by relentless opposition, that Laura and her fellow opponents are pouting over not having got their way. They knew who they wanted (Luttig or McConnell or Owens or Jones) and they didn't get it and they're looking for justification for their anger.
If their opposition came after the hearings, then I might give more weight to their arguments.
As it is, I would advise Laura and her friends to reread the Constitution. The last time I looked, it didn't give the power to nominate judges to the leading loyal members of the President's political party. The Constitution gave that power to the President alone, and he has exercised it.
So to paraphrase the title of a wonderful book, "Shut Up and Broadcast," Laura.