Carol Platt Liebau: "Condescending and Inappropriate"

Saturday, October 22, 2005

"Condescending and Inappropriate"

I have to agree with Senator John Cornyn's thinly-veiled criticism of Arlen Specter's comments to the effect that Harriet Miers needs a "crash course in constitutional law," as reported here by David Kirkpatrick in The New York Times.

Of course, one might expect Specter's behavior to degenerate to the extent that it becomes clear that Ms. Miers may well be a pro-life vote on the Court, given that Specter has defined himself as a pro-choicer. But such a comment is, in fact, condescending and inappropriate -- after all, Specter's never himself been noted for his grasp of constitutional law, Scottish law included.

And however those of us following the nomination may feel about Specter's remark, it's guaranteed only to annoy and alienate people who are following the nomination process only slightly. In fact, it seems to me that Miers critics have strategized badly -- if their goal has, in fact, been to effectuate her withdrawal. Too much of the criticism has been premature, overly personal, or deeply unfair -- and almost guaranteed to get the President's "back" up, rather than convince him that perhaps other choices would be better. Yes, some in the conservative movement have enjoyed a pipe-clearing temper tantrum, but at the end of the day, so far, I don't see much having been accomplished besides some smearing of a woman who, by all accounts, is a fine person (and, at the very least, a trailblazing attorney), a divided (if only temporarily) conservative movement, and a President less likely to listen to conservative voices than ever before.

For years, conservatives have been smeared as being somehow less "academic" than liberals. It's not surprising that Senator Specter would fall into this stereotype, but at least until we've seen Miers' performance in the hearings, Senator Cornyn was quite right to rebuke him. We've got plenty of Democrats willing to portray Republicans and their nominees as dumb -- we don'tneed people on our own side of the aisle doing it, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen. Critics have arrogated themselves to unwarranted status. The dichotomy is that if lay legal scholars can presume to sharpshoot Meirs qualifications then they can also presumably qualify themselves to sit on the court.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Cornyn is wong and Specter is right. This nominee is a disgrace, as are you Carol (although youb are a hottie). Let's stop the nonsense. Luttig before, Luttig now, Luttig forever. STOP MIERS!!!!

10:55 PM  

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