Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The NYT Harriet Miers Editorial

At some point the editorial writing from the Gray Lady will have to be put behind the wall of Times Select; it is just that abysmal.

It is a sign of the times that President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court was greeted with so many sighs of relief. Ms. Miers's record is so thin that no one seems to have any idea of what she believes, and she was clearly chosen because of her close ties to the president, not her legal qualifications. Still, there is no evidence as yet that she is an ideological warrior who would attempt to return American jurisprudence to the 18th century, and these days, the nation seems to be setting the bar for almost everything pretty low.

No evidence as yet that she would attempt to return jurisprudence to the 18th century. Is this a bad thing? Would the editorial board want to overturn Marbury? (It was written in 1803, by the way.) Can there be anything more telling than the idea that returning to interpreting the Constitution is disturbing to the Times? And as far as the accusation that Miers is an "ideological warrior"; does this mean that William O. Douglas was a "moderate", the favorite, if entirely misplaced, encomium of the NYT for a Leftist activist? Yes, the nation is setting the bar low these days and it is particularly true of the editorials emanating from our national newspapers.

Ms. Miers's resume gives at least some reason to hope that she could be a moderate, pragmatic judge in the mold of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whose seat she will fill if she is confirmed. She has spent much of her career in corporate law firms and bar associations, environments that encourage pragmatism over ideology.

My guess is that the Times will define “pragmatism” about the same time they start correcting the legion of factual errors in the columns that comprise Times Select. Currently, there are more Krugman corrections than there are columns, something I wouldn’t have even thought possible.

The far right of the Republican Party will oppose anyone who has shown signs of moderation, and Senate Democrats will try to block anyone who has not. Rather than select a strongly qualified candidate from the legal mainstream, President Bush has taken the easy way out by choosing a less accomplished nominee who will raise fewer political problems.

Well, there you have it: The Republicans are the party opposed to moderation, the Democrats are expositors of that “virtue”. Also, note that the “far Right” is mentioned but the “far Left” is not. Perhaps the Times doesn’t think there is such a thing.

Of course the NYT will oppose this nomination.


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