Friday, October 14, 2005

Judge Dread: Waiting for the Miers Verdict

How Handcuffs and a Unisex Bathroom Might Save the Constitution

President Bush is an extraordinarily determined man who honors his commitments to the bloody end. He has an excess of sticktuitiveness.

President Reagan had a soaring vision of freedom taking flight across the globe, so it was fitting that an airport would be renamed in his honor.

When President Bush retires, they're going to rename Elmer's Glue.

Do I expect Bush to withdraw the nomination of Harriet Miers? Not in this lifetime.

Then why did I sign David Frum's petition? Because I am a conservative of conscience. Results matter, but principles matter more.

Harriet Miers is not Linda Chavez or Michael Brown. She is Karl Rove and Karen Hughes. It will take a criminal indictment for Bush to cut her loose.

Barring Miers' own withdrawal, the nomination will proceed to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The President will invoke executive privilege, which was the strategery behind her selection. So we will learn little or nothing about her Bush years, the transformative time when she forged her qualifications, whatever the President thinks they are, for the SCOTUS.

We will learn something from Miers' performance and a lot from the Senate's reaction. If enough Senators of both parties - and Jim Jeffords - support her nomination, we may have a Supreme Court Justice with a blank slate on one side and the Presidential seal of approval on the other.

In ten years, Vice President Cheney assured Rush Limbaugh, we will appreciate what an outstanding selection Miers is. Can you imagine long years of nervous anticipation as we wait for Cheney's prediction to be proven true or false? Can you endure ten more years of this internecine debate? How about twenty or more, if she serves until her eighties?

The solution is not for principled conservatives to suck it up one more time for Bush. Those of us who disagree are sending our messages via petitions, blogs, talk radio, print media to this administration and to politicians with presidential aspirations for 2008.

Some gleeful observers of the Miers debate are asking, "Can this marriage be saved?" I ask instead, "Can this family be saved?"

Bush is like the son we send off to college and hope he stays true to his principles. He promises that he will. We worked hard to help him get where he is. We are deeply invested in his success.

We become concerned when he entertains some liberal notions that we did not teach him, but he reassures us that he is fundamentally unchanged. Then we start to get credit card bills with budget-busting charges, but he explains that they are necessary expenses. Some are impulse purchases to help others in need. We like that he is so tender-hearted, but we are already in considerable debt due to unforeseen emergencies. However, his grades are good overall, so we let him keep the credit card. All we ask is that he stay true to his principles and come home on really important family occasions.

At Christmas, he brings home a new friend who impresses us instantly. He is exceptionally bright, articulate, ambitious and yet humble. They talk about their social activities on campus with several young women of accomplishment who sound equally impressive. We are so relieved and proud of our son.

When he returns to college, he encounters opposition from leftist professors and obstacles that lead him to drop some classes. He starts talking about one special woman who is helping him deal with his problems, but she is not one of the campus standouts he mentioned earlier. He brings her home at spring break and immediately we are alarmed by how serious he is about her.

She seems nice but almost too agreeable, too deferential, even gushy. She seconds our son's every opinion and seems to have none of her own, although we learn that she changed many longheld views after becoming close to him. She reminds us of a lovely woman we know who avoids confrontation and usually agrees with the last person she talked to.

We understand that he has been living in an unnaturally cloistered, often stressful environment where personal loyalty assumes enormous significance. However, we suspect that he is relying more on his emotions than his reason, breaking his pledge to us and compromising his principles. We begin to question his judgment and revisit prior actions that caused concern.

She has an opportunity for advancement and he expects us to pay for her training. We think she is an unnecessary mistake that will cost us all for years. Looking ahead to the not-too-distant future, she plans to stay behind in the same hostile environment after he returns to the comforts of home far away. Knowing how stubborn he can be, we expect him to remain faithful. But she is so obviously impressionable that we foresee in their inevitable separation too great a risk of betrayal.

Indisputably, he has the right to make this decision. Indisputably, we have the right to revoke our support, financial and otherwise. *

Reagan said, "'Trust me' government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what's best for us. Well my view of government places trust not in one person or one Party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties."

The Miers nomination is the product of personal politics over conservative values. The President was moved by her personal attributes, not her judicial values. He implored the nation to trust him personally. In the absence of substantial evidence to support the nomination, his defenders resort to personal slurs against his critics. We worry that Miers' personal loyalty to Bush may not withstand the personal charms and pressures of the liberal Beltway establishment after he returns to his ranch half a continent away. I offer a personal analogy to describe our national impasse.

Even if Miers is confirmed and votes with Justices Scalia and Thomas more often than not, God willing, it won't justify the series of flawed judgments that led to her nomination. The integrity of the process does matter.

I have a solution. It may seem radical, but I think it is the only way to save the Bush coalition and the Republic.

Immediately after Miers is sworn in as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, Bush should walk her over to Scalia. "Harriet," he should say, "Meet Nino, your new best friend." He should slap a set of handcuffs on them and wish them luck.

Then Chief Justice Roberts needs to requisition a unisex bathroom ASAP. You know how women are. We can never powder our noses alone. In one of the most personal places where ladies gather, we share secrets, we share our dreams, we bond.

On this point I believe all conservatives can agree. When the fate of the Constitution is as stake, we want Scalia to be there where he is needed most, not Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

* For the record, my son is attending a local college while living at home, has no credit cards, is an uncompromising originalist conservative, and prefers Japanese women.

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