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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hell hath no fury like a blogosphere scorned

Many thanks to Dan, Ethan, Kaimi, and the rest of the Prawfsblawg glitterati for inviting me on as a guest blogger.  It is exciting and great fun to be part of this terrific forum.

The blogosphere has pretty solidly denounced the Harriet Miers confirmation.  As Mickey Kaus predicted, Bush's success with the Roberts' nomination seems to have set too high a bar for his follow-up pick.  I am a little surprised at the ferocity of the reaction -- perhaps some folks had their hearts too firmly set on a particular brand of conservative jurist.  But I also think some of what is going on is an overreaction to the importance of the Supreme Court.  After all, Harriet Miers may not have the glittering credentials of an Alex Kozinski or a Michael Luttig, but she was president of the bar association for the second largest state in the nation.  Where was the outrage over a certain appointee, to a position where lives could be lost if performed incompetently, who had been forced to resign as commissioner of the International Arabian Horses Association?  Perhaps a little more blogospheric attention to that appointment could have saved lives or billions of dollars.

I guess what I'm saying is, on this one, color me a little Zaring.

Posted by Matt Bodie on October 4, 2005 at 06:14 PM in Deliberation and voices | Permalink

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Comments

"Perhaps a little more blogospheric attention to that appointment could have saved lives or billions of dollars."

Probably not. Beware of unreasonable claims about the political power of the blogosphere.

Posted by: Nate Oman | Oct 4, 2005 8:44:56 PM

Actually, Alaska is the biggest state in the nation, territory-wise. And California is the largest, population-wise, while NY might be the most important. Texas is just the state that likes to talk about how big it is the most. I know that's not super-relevant, but still...

Posted by: Jeff V. | Oct 4, 2005 11:05:33 PM

surely you aren't meaning to imply that the justices don't handle cases involving life and death?

Posted by: anon | Oct 4, 2005 11:59:41 PM

Good poiint re other troubling political appointments, though the lifetime term here increases the stakes.

Also, my view/hunch is that a truly intellectual Sup Ct Justice is less likely to be a hack ruling on political preferences. E.g., Felix Frankfurter stuck to his guns on "judicial deference" when the turf changed from reviewing New Deal legislation in the 1930s/40s to reviewing civil right/liberties violations in the 1950s. I don't see anything in Miers's background or cliche-filled writing to indicate that she'd be compelled by any jurisprudential theory to refrain from upholding the side she "likes."

Posted by: Scott Moss | Oct 5, 2005 8:54:31 AM

I feel like everyone should be colored a little Zaring.

But yeah, it might be worth caring a bit more about a bureaucrat with the power to blow billions of dollars than a bureaucrat who can get you one fifth of the way to new rules about nativity scenes.

Perhaps we should call your observation Bodie's Razor.

Posted by: David Zaring | Oct 5, 2005 11:50:54 AM

Bodie's Razor -- that's pretty funny, considering he's one of the few younger profs I know with a beard!

Posted by: Scott Moss | Oct 5, 2005 11:59:56 AM

It seems to me that conservatives don't believe she's a conservative and originalists don't believe she's an originalist. I believe that she is a conservative, but the claim that she will not "grow" a la Kennedy strikes me as resting on thin air. Indeed, as I claimed here and developed here, there is every reason to think that by definition she will change in office.

A truly ghastly pick, although I think the chances of stopping her are zero. Even if she could be stopped (or merely delayed) by the Senate, there is no reason to think Bush would withdraw the nomination; I suspect he would simply use a recess appointment. The question then becomes, what to do in the midterms?

Posted by: Simon | Oct 5, 2005 3:06:16 PM

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