Thursday, October 06, 2005

Miered in Congress

Want some local knowledge about the Harriet Miers nomination? Virginia Postrel, who hails from Dallas (and notes that much of her family income is provided by SMU), has cogent thoughts here and here. For starters. By all means, go to the main site here and keep scrolling. Virginia's point on "Miers-Briggs Jurisprudence" strikes particularly close to home. Over my many lifetimes I've worked for extreme "S" types, who may lack either the interest or inclination to look beyond their own experiences and think the world is simply an extension of what they know. They can make wretched bosses -- if they're in a position where setting long-term goals is important.

Meantime, Peggy Noonan nails this point:

I find myself lately not passionately supporting or opposing any particular nominee. But I'd give a great deal to see Supreme Court justices term-limited. They should be picked not for life but for a specific term of specific length, and then be released back into the community. This would involve amending the Constitution. Why not? We'd amend it to ban flag-burning, even though a fool burning a flag can't possibly harm our country. But a Kelo decision and a court unrebuked for it can really tear the fabric of a nation.

I'm sympathetic to the argument for term-limiting Supreme Court justices, if for no other reason that it would limit the amount of time a truly awful justice could do harm.

UPDATE: Matthew Franck, on NRO's Bench Memos blog, brings up a troubling prospect: If Miers is confirmed, could she wind up like Charles Evans Whittaker? Whittaker, appointed by Eisenhower in 1957, was such a detail freak that he worked 17 hours a day, 7 days a week until he collapsed of a nervous breakdown and had to step aside after five years on the bench. Franck predicts nothing, but simply underscores what Charles Krauthammer noted in today's Washington Post: "constitutional jurisprudence ... is, by definition, an exercise of intellect steeped in scholarship. Otherwise it is nothing but raw politics." Even more reason to be underwhelmed by this nomination.

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