Bench Memos

Shields gets it wrong (but a little right)

Like E.J. Dionne the other day,

Mark Shields today asserts that Ms. Miers’s withdrawal shows the “hypocrisy” of

conservatives who, as he points out, have long insisted that the President’s

nominees are entitled to an up-or-down vote in the Senate.

It doesn’t, and they do. Mr. Shields is an excellent columnist, so he knows

full well that for conservatives to criticize a nominee, on the merits, is not

to filibuster a nominee who enjoys majority support in the Senate. It’s apples

and oranges. The bloggers in The Corner did not deny the President’s (majority

supported) nominee an up-or-down vote. Instead, the appealed to the President

and Ms. Miers to reconsider their own decisions.

On the other hand, Shields criticizes — with some force, in my view — the

apparent claim by some that Ms. Miers’s evangelical Christianity should be

regarded as a credential, and also the too-quick embrace by some of Ms. Miers’s

supporters of gender-diversity arguments.

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