Another Take

A former Bush Administration lawyer – a conservative whose judgment I generally trust – offers this assessment:

I hope Miers will prove to be up to the job, and I don’t think she is a Souter-esque liberal. The business community may take some solace in the fact that she’s a former commercial litigator and will bring a real world perspective to business cases that the Court presently lacks. It also seems to be a better than 50/50 proposition that Miers shares the President’s values since she served as his staff secretary and deputy chief of staff for policy — both jobs where the holder is tasked with keeping policy in line with the President’s views. Miers also has a personality — cautious, exceedingly attentive to detail, incremental — that suggests an approach to judging that is likely to tilt conservative. She’s also utterly immune to the DC popularity game, and is therefore unlikely to fall under the sway of Linda Greenhouse and the Georgetown establishment.

Can I say that she was the best available player on our team? Not with a high degree of certainty, particularly in light of her age, lack of prior judicial experience, and limited history in the conservative legal community. Having said that, the President has available to him far more information about the drawbacks of the other contenders, and the likely reactions of various Senators. Bottom line, when Roberts was picked I was confident about the choice and hopeful about the confirmation process. This time I’m nervous, but hopeful, about the choice, not to mention the confirmation process.

Jonathan H. Adler — Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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