In keeping with Wlady’s good example, and because nobody watches MSNBC any more, it’s my duty to report Judge Robert Bork’s take on Harriet Miers.
Asked his opinion of the Miers nom, Bork replied, “I think it’s a disaster on every level.” Why? Bork said,”…this is a woman who’s undoubtedly as wonderful a person as they say she is, but so far as anyone can tell she has no experience with constitutional law whatever. Now it’s a little late to develop a constitutional philosophy or begin to work it out when you’re on the court already. So that — I’m afraid she’s likely to be influenced by factors, such as personal sympathies and so forth, that she shouldn’t be influenced by. I don’t expect that she can be, as the president says, a great justice.”
As I wrote here on the day she was nominated, Miers is a very high-risk candidate because — throughout her career — she has only been someone’s lawyer. She has never had the opportunity to be independent, to develop her own identity and — as Judge Bork points out — has yet to develop and prove (even to herself) what her constitutional philosophy is. Miers herself cannot predict today how she will be changed — philosophically or morally — by the acquisition of judicial power and influence. She may well turn out to be the conservative jurist the president expects her to be. But it is just as likely — and I believe even more so — that she will be a Supreme Court justice that her best friends will not recognize.
There is nothing that can possibly be asked or could be answered in the confirmation hearings that can predict accurately how Miers’s judicial philosophy will evolve once she is on the court. Every Supreme Court nomination carries some measure of this risk. Some, such as Miers’, carry immeasurably more risk than others. One Souter was too much. Miers is all too likely to be a second.