Carol Platt Liebau: Miers Questionnaire

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Miers Questionnaire

The role of the judiciary in our system of government is limited. While its role and independence are essential to the proper functioning of our tripartite system of government, the courts cannot be the solution to society's ills, and the independence of the courts provides no license for them to be free-wheeling. And, of course, parties should not be able to establish social policy through court action, having failed to persuade the legislative branch or the executive branch of the wisdom of their preferred course.

That's on page 55 of the Harriet Miers questionnaire, found here. And it does seem to indicate a real understanding and active rejection of the kind of "sweet mystery of life" jurisprudence embraced by justices like Anthony Kennedy.

It seems to me that almost every judicial nominee will follow in the footsteps of John Roberts, and play coy with respect to stare decisis, insofar as it's become a "code" discussion of reversing Roe v. Wade. That's how we get the following sentence from the questionnaire: "Mere disagreement with a result is insufficient to justify ignoring applicable precedent, but reconsideration under appropriate circumstances is also necessary. There are clear examples, like Brown v. Board of Education, where revisiting precedent is not only right, it is prudent."

This provides little of real illumination. But it does seem that the first quote, where Ms. Miers condemns courts serving as super-legislatures and policy makers, is strong and thus is somewhat reassuring.


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