Common Thread

What do John Roberts and Harriet Miers have in common?

Limited judicial experience, a history of staying out of the limelight, utter competence . . . and extremely close ties to the Reep political establishment. Both individuals are the very definition of activist judges -- they were selected because they can be depended on to promote the party's agenda.

I would hope people would be figuring out by now that, though this administration pays rhetoric to conservative principles, the agenda is not ideological but partisan.

No such luck. Everybody's either shocked by this pick, or in denial about what it means.

By far, the funniest line I've read for a long time comes from John@Powerline (emphasis mine):
President Bush knows Miers well, and it is almost inconceivable to me that he is insincere in his repeated descriptions of what he is looking for in Supreme Court justices. He also is acutely aware that the Souter nomination was one of the chief blots on his father's administration. Is it possible that he would waste a Supreme Court nomination on someone who isn't a conservative? It's hard for me to believe, but the evidence so far isn't encouraging.
"Almost inconceivable" that Bush would tell conservatives what they want to hear, just to get elected. That tells you everything you need to know about Powerline.

Chris@MyDD is compiling the outrage at
Looks like BUSH was the ULTIMATE Stealth Candidate.
Conservative crackpot Manny Miranda, quoted at new left-right discussion blog DC Debate:
I was hoping that the president would keep his campaign promise. He said he would name someone like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. We thought he meant someone with a clear judicial record on particular issues.
I'm still disappointed in the President and Congress. While many things have gotten accomplished, the republicans don't act like they have control. And when they do act it's with spending or "safe" canidates not to upset the democrats. A republican controlled house, senate and President: ACT and Govern like conservatives.
But, see, they're not conservatives. They're Reeps. Hence the big spending, the cronyism, and the waffling on social issues. And the selection of vaguely-agreeable Reep partisans for the court when they could be forcing through conservative ideologues. But you know these two will side with the administration when it comes to cases like Jose Padilla.

Zywicki@Volokh sort of gets it:
These appointments thus seem to confirm a common criticism of this President--that he is uninterested in ideas and interested only in power. While they may both turn out to be perfectly fine Justices, both Roberts and Miers appear to be both uninspired and uninspiring in terms of providing intellectual leadership on the Court. The Administration seems to be narrowly obsessed with winning minor tactical victories (here, an easy confirmation of a stealth candidate) while consistently failing to follow-through with meaningful long-term strategic victories (an opportunity to change the legal culture).
I'd argue that the actual agenda is long-term partisan benefit, rather than short-term tactical victories. What conservatives are finally picking up on is that the administration pays lip service to their philosophy, but the good of the Party is the real priority.

By 2008, conservatives are going to feel like liberals felt after eight years of Clinton.

For more reactions, check out WSJ's roundup as well as Orin@Volokh's.

UPDATE: Hotline On Call has the transcript of Cheney & Rush on Miers. Here's the most telling line, in my opinion:
She's been actively involved in public affairs for five years now. She's served ably as the Staff Secretary, Deputy Chief of Staff, and White House Counsel to the President, and brings a different perspective than some of the other candidates would have brought to it.
Five years in political operations, and Cheney's convinced she's better-suited for the Supreme Clown Posse than, let's say, a judge. Hmmmm . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Randi Rhodes just reminded me (inadvertently, of course) to reiterate exactly what I mean by "the party's agenda."

Briefly: the Reep agenda is to use the power and influence of the government to promote the interests of billionaires.

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