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October 19, 2005

A Bird In The Hand

It’s really amusing to listen to the liberal community rationalize Bush’s appointment of Harriet Miers. “Well, she just said she was anti-abortion in order to win a local election way back in 1989,” they say. “Right. You bet,” I say.

Think what you will of George W. Bush – he’s stupid, he’s a puppet, he’s uncontrollable, he has his own agenda and nobody can stop him now. I agree with all of that. But George didn’t get to be the great patsy he is by being that stupid. The one thing I do not doubt about the man is his commitment to taking away the right (and yes, for the past three decades it has been a right) to a safe, legal abortion.

It’s clear Bush knows how to read a calendar – or, at least, the countdown clock on so many blogs, including this one. He’s going to push as much of his agenda through as he can. He’s willing to sacrifice the public presence of Puppetmaster Dick Chaney – if Dick’s indicted, he’s history as far as his paid position is concerned. Bush was willing to ignore the advice of his handlers when he appointed Miers in the first place. He’s the man with the plan, and if that plan seems like a flow chart designed by M.C. Escher, well, that’s not his problem.

And by “our,” I mean the radical left, the neo-cons, the religious right, the liberal left, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Left-Libertarians, Greens, pinkos, and overripe pod-people like Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly.

The man’s uncontrollable. He’s a danger to his own party – the prospect of the Democrats picking up either the House and/or the Senate now seems as likely as the Yankees’ chances of winning the Pennent looked about a month ago.

Of course, the Yankees blew it, and they are better organized than the Democrats. But, at least, Howard Dean knows that.

Let’s see if the Dems are smart enough to pay attention.

Posted by Mike Gold at October 19, 2005 12:16 PM

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Comments

Educate me Mike. Why don't the Dems just offer up an abortion amendment?

And technically, the court can't bestow rights. And I dare you to find the Constitutional power that says it can.

Posted by: eclark1849 at October 19, 2005 01:27 PM

The Miers nomination isn't about abortion. Bush could have picked any one of a dozen at least moderately qualified candidates with anti-abortion credentials, and I don't think even Bush was stupid enough to think that anyone would mistakenly think Miers has a "moderate" view on the subject.

The Miers nomination is about loyalty to Bush, which is a far more important criterion for disqualification than her complete lack of experience in constitutional law or her views on abortion. All presidents want to pack the court with like-minded judges, but Miers' close ties to Bush jeopardize the separation of the judiciary from the executive branch in far more serious ways than a simple sharing of basic views -- and over the next three years, that difference could seriously compromise the court. In theory, she should recuse herself from any cases that involve the Bush administration, but she would be under no obligation to do so.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 19, 2005 02:06 PM

Earl sez:

Educate me Mike. Why don't the Dems just offer up an abortion amendment?

Because it would be redundant. The Supreme Court has already said abortion is legal. So there. The Supreme Court giveth, the Supreme Court taketh away. Right now, offering up such an amendment would be an admission that the Supremes didn't have the right to make the decision they made. Which, of course, is nonsense: the Supremes could decide we should all have to change our underpants every 30 minutes, and wear our underpants on the outside so police could check.

And technically, the court can't bestow rights. And I dare you to find the Constitutional power that says it can.

I wouldn't waste my time. This might open up a can of worms here (as if that's unique) but in my opinion neither courts, governments nor religious leaders bestow "rights" upon anybody. "Rights" are not even what you can do. "Rights" are what you do do, and unused rights aren't rights at all.

For example: we have the "right" to free speech, but there are laws that severely restrict what we can say or put into print. Ergo, we do not have the "right" to free speech, we have the right to speech that doesn't annoy those in power.

For example: we have the "right" to a safe, legal abortion. Who desided that is beside the point. We have that right. If the Supremes reverse themselves, we will STILL have the right to an abortion -- just not a safe one, nor a legal one. It'll be a boon for the clothes hanger industry, which is where I'm putting my investment money.

Posted by: Mike Gold at October 19, 2005 02:23 PM

The Court once ruled that slavery was legal. Courts DO reverse themselves you know.

Posted by: eclark1849 at October 19, 2005 03:33 PM

Yep. They sure do. I said so. Look at my tasteless, tacky comment re: clothes hangers, above. It starts with the phrase "If the Supremes reverse themselves..." And the whole point of my commentary was that even Bush isn't stupid enough to nominate a person that disagrees with him on abortion.

Posted by: Mike Gold at October 19, 2005 03:42 PM

re: "The Court once ruled that slavery was legal. Courts DO reverse themselves you know."

The Court didn't abolish slavery. That took a constitutional amendment -- the thirteenth amendment, to be precise. Prior to that, the SC made some rather sweeping decisions supporting slavery based on little other than the reference to "three fifths of other persons" in the Constitution. After that, the SC had little choice but to rule against slavery, since the wording of the 13th amendment left little doubt as to the intent of the amenders.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 19, 2005 04:04 PM

I think you meant Karl Rove, not Dick Cheney, as the great puppetmaster. Oh, and the White Sox won the pennant so anything is possible (maybe even the Cubs winning one, but I'm not holding my breath).

I don't think that a nomination from inside the White House necessarily means a breakdown of the checks and balances of our three-cornered hat of a government. I would have been exceedingly pleased to have White House counsel under Clinton, Abner Mikva, nominated to the Supreme Court. The SC has a funny way of freeing jurists from political obligation because once you become a Supreme, no one can take it away from you. I'm more concerned about Miers having a first-rate mind than with whether that mind belongs to her. I suspect she's a hack, but I have no proof of that other than the boatload of nincompoops Bush has appointed to other offices.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at October 19, 2005 05:13 PM

Miers is not merely from "inside" the White House. She's a Dubya devotee. She sends him love notes singing his praises. She also used to be his personal lawyer. She cannot be expected to render anything resembling an objective opinion on any matters concerning George W. Bush -- which might very well come before the Court in the next three years.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 19, 2005 05:26 PM

I cannot envision George Bush having any kind of case come before the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at October 19, 2005 05:35 PM

Marilyn sez:

I think you meant Karl Rove, not Dick Cheney, as the great puppetmaster. No, but I see your point. You say Rove, I say Cheney. Rove, Cheney, tomato, tomatoe...

Funny thing. Just a couple days ago I talked about Clinton and Mikva, as in "Hey, I wish Clinton was able to nominate Mikva." I worked with him on social service issues many decades ago -- and let me tell you about his sense of humor.

I was flying to Washington to meet with him and, later, with HHS (actually, HEW) people. He asked me if I wanted VIP private tour passes to the White House and, he said with a smile, to the FBI. I replied with my background that might be a bit tough. He said, "Naw, here's what we'll do." And a couple days later I got passes in the mail in the name of Jerry Lewis.

That was in the days before ID checks. If, indeed, they're doing them now.

And Rick notes several important reasons why Miers would have to recuse herself from matters involving Bush. She doesn't have to IF she's a Supreme -- she could do whatever she wants, as they are answerable only to themselves. However, as Bush's former personal council, it would be a complete and total mockery if she didn't. An outrage, even by this administration's standards.

I hope we'll find out. Reason enough to want her confirmed. As if Bush would appoint a more appealing replacement. Like maybe, you know, Bea Arthur.

Posted by: Mike Gold at October 19, 2005 05:42 PM

re: "I cannot envision George Bush having any kind of case come before the Supreme Court."

Assuming the comment was not facetious, any legal attempts to compel Dubya to provide sworn testimony in a criminal proceeding would almost certainly end up in the Supreme Court before Dubya would take the stand, since he would never do so voluntarily. If either Karl Rove or Dick Cheney is indicted, the prosecutors will almost certainly try to supoena Dubya to testify, unless the culprits plead out, which I'm betting neither of them would do.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 19, 2005 08:21 PM

I just don't see that scenario playing out, Rick, though having a bunch of his cronies on the S.C. might prevent the court from even hearing the case. If prosecutors can't make a case without Dubya, they should forget it and try for tax evasion. I'm sure that would be makeable.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at October 20, 2005 09:45 AM

Marilyn:

It's not about whether or not they can make a case without Dubya's testimony. Partly it's about putting Bush on the stand under oath -- but mostly it's about having someone with extremely close ties to the executive branch sitting on the bench of the one branch of government that should not have those ties.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 20, 2005 10:33 AM

The Executive Branch is perhaps the least affected by the S.C., since it does not promulgate laws. Most cases come from way down the food chain, local and state levels. I just don't see a direct tie. It is only in the hearing of cases that I can see the S.C. promoting an agenda that is not based on Constitutional law.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at October 20, 2005 11:04 AM

Actually, the executive branch does "promulgate laws" quite frequently. They just don't call them "laws" -- they call them "executive orders". For example, there is currently the trifling matter of an executive order that condones torture and suspends habeus corpus.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 20, 2005 01:58 PM

What would be the procedure for challenging an Executive Order such that it could be brought before the S.C.?

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at October 20, 2005 02:20 PM

Whatever procedure it is that they used when the SC overturned Truman's executive order seizing the steel mills or when the SC ruled 6-3 this summer that Gitmo detainees did, in fact, have habeus corpus rights, despite Dubya's executive order to the contrary.

Geez, given the typical torpid, lackluster behavior of the legislature, the SC is just about the only thing preventing the executive branch from gross abuse of power.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 20, 2005 03:38 PM

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