Miers critics not elitists

By

Pundits who oppose Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court are being tagged as elitists.  That accusation came up twice yesterday on the FOX Special Report with Brit Hume.  First, during his Grapevine segment. Hume pointed out that Miers' critics Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum, Laura Ingraham and George Will all attended Ivy League schools. Then, during the panel discussion with Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, and Mara Liasson, Hume raised the issue again.  The following is a partial transcript available through LexisNexis:

HUME: All right, folks. What about it? Is there a bit of elitism in all of this?

FRED BARNES: Well, there may be snobbery even.

(CROSSTALK)

HUME: Snobbery even? Snobbery even? Go ahead, Fred.

BARNES: When you read —— look, and all of those people you mentioned are all friends of mine. They're people who I admire, who I always read their columns. But David Frum says, for instance, that she's not good enough for the job —— that's Harriet Miers —— and she will remain not good enough even if she votes the right way.

Well, I think, for most conservatives, if she votes the right way, she will be exactly the person who they want on the court. But somehow they've gotten all tied up in this idea that she doesn't have the right credentials, she hasn't written a lot of dazzlingly intellectual opinions. And therefore, the president should have picked —— now, there is a list, I'll have to say —— and David Frum writes about this —— about 20 conservatives on the appeals courts or in jobs in the administration or somewhere who really do have dazzling credentials.

And President Bush didn't pick from that list. He picked Harriet Miers. And they're mad about that, because she doesn't measure up credential—wise, you know, SMU Law School.

One does not expect NPR's Mara Liasson to possess a better understanding of conservative opinion than Fred Barnes, but yesterday she did.

LIASSON: I don't think that they look down on her because she went to SMU.

BARNES: Well, I do.

LIASSON: As a matter of fact, if you went to the list of the conservative judges that they favor, I think you would find many of those who didn't go to an Ivy League school.

BARNES: I think you would find a majority of them who did.

LIASSON: Well, I don't think so. I don't think this is about —— this is about a different kind of credential, not just where you went to college.

Indeed, a quick review of conservatives' most—preferred Supreme Court nominees proves Ms. Liasson to be quite right.  Washington Post bios  on the leading contenders show which law schools each candidate attended:

Samuel Alito                      Yale 
Janice Rogers Brown         UCLA  
Edith Clement                    Tulane 
Emilio Garza                      University of Texas  
Edith Jones                        University of Texas 
J. Michael Luttig                University of Virginia 
Michael McConnell            University of Chicago 
J. Harvie Wilkinson            University of Virginia

Information on additional candidates can be found here at ConfirmThem.com:

Alice Batchelder                Akron University
Miguel Estrada                  Harvard
Diane Sykes                      Marquette
Karen Williams                  University of South Carolina

With the exception of Alito and Estrada, none of the nominees preferred by conservatives were from Ivy League law schools.  Granted, universities like Texas and Virginia are much more prestigious than SMU, but conservatives would probably have taken Williams or Batchelder over Miers if given a choice.  Furthermore, the oft—mentioned Alberto Gonzales is a Harvard graduate whose nomination would have met just as much opposition as Harriet Miers' has. 

The president's base wanted a nominee with a proven conservative record so they would 1.) know that the president was not ashamed of them and 2.) not have to worry about another Republican nominee turning into a liberal on the bench.  To suggest that elitism drives the opposition to Harriet Miers is untrue and unfair.

Josh Bentley    10 06 05 

Pundits who oppose Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court are being tagged as elitists.  That accusation came up twice yesterday on the FOX Special Report with Brit Hume.  First, during his Grapevine segment. Hume pointed out that Miers' critics Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum, Laura Ingraham and George Will all attended Ivy League schools. Then, during the panel discussion with Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, and Mara Liasson, Hume raised the issue again.  The following is a partial transcript available through LexisNexis:

HUME: All right, folks. What about it? Is there a bit of elitism in all of this?

FRED BARNES: Well, there may be snobbery even.

(CROSSTALK)

HUME: Snobbery even? Snobbery even? Go ahead, Fred.

BARNES: When you read —— look, and all of those people you mentioned are all friends of mine. They're people who I admire, who I always read their columns. But David Frum says, for instance, that she's not good enough for the job —— that's Harriet Miers —— and she will remain not good enough even if she votes the right way.

Well, I think, for most conservatives, if she votes the right way, she will be exactly the person who they want on the court. But somehow they've gotten all tied up in this idea that she doesn't have the right credentials, she hasn't written a lot of dazzlingly intellectual opinions. And therefore, the president should have picked —— now, there is a list, I'll have to say —— and David Frum writes about this —— about 20 conservatives on the appeals courts or in jobs in the administration or somewhere who really do have dazzling credentials.

And President Bush didn't pick from that list. He picked Harriet Miers. And they're mad about that, because she doesn't measure up credential—wise, you know, SMU Law School.

One does not expect NPR's Mara Liasson to possess a better understanding of conservative opinion than Fred Barnes, but yesterday she did.

LIASSON: I don't think that they look down on her because she went to SMU.

BARNES: Well, I do.

LIASSON: As a matter of fact, if you went to the list of the conservative judges that they favor, I think you would find many of those who didn't go to an Ivy League school.

BARNES: I think you would find a majority of them who did.

LIASSON: Well, I don't think so. I don't think this is about —— this is about a different kind of credential, not just where you went to college.

Indeed, a quick review of conservatives' most—preferred Supreme Court nominees proves Ms. Liasson to be quite right.  Washington Post bios  on the leading contenders show which law schools each candidate attended:

Samuel Alito                      Yale 
Janice Rogers Brown         UCLA  
Edith Clement                    Tulane 
Emilio Garza                      University of Texas  
Edith Jones                        University of Texas 
J. Michael Luttig                University of Virginia 
Michael McConnell            University of Chicago 
J. Harvie Wilkinson            University of Virginia

Information on additional candidates can be found here at ConfirmThem.com:

Alice Batchelder                Akron University
Miguel Estrada                  Harvard
Diane Sykes                      Marquette
Karen Williams                  University of South Carolina

With the exception of Alito and Estrada, none of the nominees preferred by conservatives were from Ivy League law schools.  Granted, universities like Texas and Virginia are much more prestigious than SMU, but conservatives would probably have taken Williams or Batchelder over Miers if given a choice.  Furthermore, the oft—mentioned Alberto Gonzales is a Harvard graduate whose nomination would have met just as much opposition as Harriet Miers' has. 

The president's base wanted a nominee with a proven conservative record so they would 1.) know that the president was not ashamed of them and 2.) not have to worry about another Republican nominee turning into a liberal on the bench.  To suggest that elitism drives the opposition to Harriet Miers is untrue and unfair.

Josh Bentley    10 06 05