I take David Frum very seriously. He is not only smart, he knows Harriet Miers. He lays out the strongest case against her nomination for the Supreme Court:
I worked with Harriet Miers. She's a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... I could pile on the praise all morning. But there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or——and more importantly——that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left. This is a chance that may never occur again: a decisive vacancy on the court, a conservative president, a 55—seat Republican majority, a large bench of brilliant and superbly credentialed conservative jurists ... and what has been done with the opportunity?
I am not saying that Harriet Miers is not a legal conservative. I am not saying that she is not steely. I am saying only that there is no good reason to believe either of these things. Not even her closest associates on the job have good reason to believe either of these things. In other words, we are being asked by this president to take this appointment purely on trust, without any independent reason to support it. And that is not a request conservatives can safely grant.
There have just been too many instances of seeming conservatives being sent to the high Court, only to succumb to the prevailing vapors up there: O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter. Given that record, it is simply reckless for any conservative president to take a hazard on anything other than a known quantity of the highest intellectual and personal excellence.
Meanwhile, the New York Times unsurprisingly finds reason to worry over her conservatism:
Ms. Miers, 60, a longtime confidante of the president's, has never been a judge, and therefore lacks a long history of judicial rulings that could reveal ideological tendencies. Her positions on such ideologically charged issues as abortion and affirmative action are not clear....
In 1996, Mr. Bush described her as being "a pit bull in Size 6 shoes."
I think it is clear that Ms. Miers is no Souter. The President knows her well, and has once again gone the route of appointing someone with a long history of personal loyalty (a.k.a. "cronyism" — a term the MSM never used to discuss Webb Hubbell and other Arkansas buddies of Bill Clinton).
Ms. Miers may not have a Harvard pedigree, but her real world achievements are formidable. I have no idea of her steeliness, but she is a workaholic, according to reports. I suspect that she will show her mettle in confirmation hearings.
There is one Justice who is 85 years old (may he enjoy good health!). President Bush has three more years in office. They will be interesting times.
Thomas Lifson 10 03 05