Carol Platt Liebau: The Best Disinfectant

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Best Disinfectant

How about a little sunlight?

This story isn't comforting -- apparently, answers on Ms. Miers' questionnaire apeared to confuse "proportional representation -- which typically deals with ethnic groups having members on elected bodies -- with the one-man, one-vote Supreme Court ruling that requires, for example, legislative districts to have equal populations," as the Washington Post puts it.

Here's what I'd like to know: Have similar mistakes ever appeared on questionnaires submitted by other Supreme Court nominees? Here's the thing: It defies credulity to think that a document like the questionnaire is being submitted without having been reviewed (if not drafted) by White House lawyers, some of the biggest "con law jocks" around. So how could such an oversight have slipped by several pairs of eyes? Is the mistake so obscure as to have slipped past some very smart people?

Don't get me wrong: The questionnaire is submitted by Ms. Miers, and credit or blame for it accrues to her. And given what we've been told about her attention to detail, one must assume she read the entire document before turning it in. But it might be worth a peek at some questionnaires of other nominees -- just to see if this kind of mistake is unique to this nomination, and how the supposedly "insulting" answers (according to some senators) compare to those of former nominees. If they are, indeed, deficient, it speaks poorly for the White House handlers as well as for the nominee herself, but such a judgment is best made after review and comparison of other questionnaires submitted at this stage in the process.

That will be helpful in telling us how loudly alarm bells should be ringing.


Blogger Jack said...

I wonder if she was perhaps referring to the 14th Amendment which refers to both Equal Protection (in section 1) and proportional representation (section 2). Her comment is still somewhat incoherent, since these provisions are not in the same "clause", but the error becomes somewhat less egregious. Someone with better access to legal research than I have can probably discover whether the case in question would have anything to do with this provision of the 14th Amendment.

7:44 PM  
Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Krauthammer today (Washington Post or any other place) nails it. He offers a graceful and elegant way out that involves Miers recusing herself.

He argues that the documents conflict (which he spells out) is necessary pretext for giving her a way out. Not sure I agree it's the only way (as he does), but it's one good way out of this mess.

8:30 AM  

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