Sunday, October 23, 2005

George Will on Harriet Mier

According to Rod Dreher of National Review's Corner, George Will's column of this morning
was supposed to be the final nail in Harriet Miers' coffin. I accordingly approached Will's piece with some trepidation. What I found was a suprisingly intemperate screed against Ms. Miers and anyone who dares support her. It is so emotional, so full of sneers and condescension and internal inconsistency that I did not know where to begin in responding.

President Aristotle has taken care of that for me. His post is perfect. I cannot think of anything to add. You must read the whole thing. And I'd love to see a reasoned conservative response to the points President Aristotle makes. If you read the comments to his post the only support there for George Will (at this writing) is from someone who descends into silly name-calling. (I have blogrolled President Aristotle at left. It's a well-written blog; read it whenever you can!)

HT: Hugh Hewitt, who adds another must-read deconstruction of Will's column from a consitutional law professor's perspective.

Read 'em both.

UPDATE: After Dafydd ab Hugh's breakdown of Will's piece at Big Lizards there is not much left but a smoking bow tie on the ground. Also, John Hinderaker at Power Line seems to be cooking something up that will appear soon in The Standard.

UPDATE II: Here is John Hinderaker's Weekly Standard piece. Key graphs:

REPUBLICANS HAVE LONG TAKEN the position that, because it is the president's prerogative to select Supreme Court justices, any nominee who is qualified and doesn't subscribe to an extreme judicial philosophy should be confirmed. Some Miers critics seem now to imply a new standard by mocking Miers as undistinguished, or by pointing out how much more qualified other potential nominees would have been. Such attacks carry a hazard. Until now, the judicial confirmation process has never been seen as one where senators can reject a qualified nominee on the ground that he or she isn't the nominee the senators wanted, or the one the senators consider the best.

But many conservative critics of Harriet Miers come perilously close to urging that standard on Republican senators, in hopes that, if Miers is defeated, the president will go back to the candidate pool more favored by conservatives. But, once a handful of Republican senators have used such a rationale to vote against a Republican nominee, it requires little imaginati on to foresee how quickly the Democrats will use that precedent to justify their own opposition to essentially any Republican nominee, no matter how well-qualified or mainstream.

This is compelling to me. What's the anti-Miers response?


Anonymous DL said...

To attack Will's arguments in part, as not having value because he lacks a law degree, doesn't win a grade school debate.

Have you forgotten that half those with law degrees lose every case?

To say that only lawyers can have valid points of view on this nominee, really is little more than the equally weak argument posited by the Cindy Sheehan contingent, when they hurled the "Chickenhawk" inevective at any and all distractors. The point being, unless you have a son killed in Iraq, your arguments are discredited and need not be addressed.

What then is your point?

Why are all these brilliant and life-long conservative pundits and pols whose very word we've elevated to wisdom, suddenly fools? Isn't it simply because we they disagree with us? 

Posted by DL

Sunday, October 23, 2005 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger GrenfellHunt said...


Thanks for dropping by over at my blog!

As for how good a lawyer HM is, this is very tough for non-lawyers to evaluate. More to the point, it can really only be evaluated by those who have worked closely with the lawyer in question. There are lots of first-rate lawyers who didn't go the right schools, or who didn't socialize enough with the Beltway legal elite to be immediately known to them.

As best I can tell, the lawyers who've worked with her--a group of individuals that does not include Mr Will--all think she's top class. Perhaps they're wrong, but I'll accept they're view until there's better evidence available.

Thanks again for your kind words on my blog! 

Posted by GrenfellHunt

Sunday, October 23, 2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger GrenfellHunt said...

Sigh--and next time I post a comment on your blog, I'll try to do more careful proof-reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger GrenfellHunt said...

Hedgehog, you are now blogrolled!

Thanks again for dropping by! 

Posted by GrenfellHunt

Sunday, October 23, 2005 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

GrenfellHunt: Thanks back atcha! You are also blogrolled here.

DL: I don't understand your comment. I was not criticizing Will's column on the basis that he is not a lawyer. His column is simply emotional and hence poorly reasoned. 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Sunday, October 23, 2005 3:56:00 PM  
Anonymous DL said...

I will agree that your post was concerned with what you termed, Wills'emotional argument. Fair enough, but that leaves open two thoughts.
You posted "Pres.Aristotle's" comment about Wills not having a law degree as "taking care of it for you" So in effect you did. I also would wonder if such a position (no degree) applys to the Senators who judge the candidate, and even more so, the President who picks her? Wouldn't the law degree requirement also apply to George? I believe that a judicial mind, no less than that of Robert Bork has taken care of any "legal" questions in the issue.

Do you support non-lawyers in the Senate and on key commmittes as well? Is there a conflict of interest having lawyers make law? Have they done a great job at it, or is our law a hodgepodge of contradiction?
It would be the topic of a good debate sometime. You might consider a post on it! Original intent and all.


Posted by DL

Monday, October 24, 2005 2:24:00 AM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

DL: I am a lawyer but have no special love for lawyers or what many lawyers have done to our country. I think it would be interesting to have a non-lawyer on the Supreme Court and would not be opposed to that. I also think Congress and other legislative bodies should have as few lawyers as possible. They have staffers who can help them with legal matters. At the same time, I don't support politicians who distrust or dismiss the law and the legal system and seem to fear lawyers. We need laws, we need a sound legal system, and we need good ethical lawyers who are wise enough to see beyond their own pocketbooks or their own pet issues. 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Monday, October 24, 2005 7:14:00 AM  
Blogger slarrow said...

Hedgehog, thanks to this Miers kerfuffle, I've become a fan. I already knew about Beldar, but you and Big Lizards have become pleasant surprises.

DL, the particular passage GrenfellHunt was attacking was a sweeping, sneering evaluation of the abilities both of Miers and her defendants to appreciate questions of constitutional law. It really doesn't deserve a response because it's an insult, not an argument. But GrenfellHunt took it more seriously than it deserved and treated it like an argument, namely an argument from authority. It looks like he construed Will as saying, "My judgment is that their judgment is sorely lacking in this area."

Now, sometimes the answer to an argument from authority is an argument against the person; strictly speaking, it is an ad hominem argument, but it's not the ad hominem fallacy. Put pithily, an appropriate response to a "because I said so!" claim is a "oh, yeah, and just who are you, Jack?" countercharge. That's where the charge about law school comes in, and it's entirely justified, especially given that Will's argument has to do with qualifications. GrenfellHunt has him hoist on his own petard.

Hope this helps. 

Posted by slarrow

Monday, October 24, 2005 1:45:00 PM  

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