Judge Judy for Supreme Court Justice


Randall G. Shelden


This is getting absurd.  First, Bush appoints a relative unknown with no experience on the Supreme Court to be the Chief no less!  To me that was sort of like promoting a rookie manager in the low minors to be manager of the Yankees.  Now W began his “search” (what, not even a “search committee”?) for a replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor (do they even bother consulting other Supreme Court Justices?) by literally walking down the hall and selecting his own White House counsel, Harriet Miers.

            The statements following his selection range from the absurd to the flabbergasted.  Bush himself praised Miers, stating that "I believe that senators of both parties will find that Harriet Miers's talent, experience and judicial philosophy make her a superb choice." David Corn, writing in The Nation asked the obvious: “But what precisely is her ‘judicial philosophy’? And how can it be discerned?”

            Apparently White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who should know about such things, noted that “Look at her record: Her record is one of being a trailblazer in the legal profession.”  Record?  What record?  Trailblazer?  What trail did she “blaze”? 

            Many critics began to charge cronyism, but VP Cheney dismissed this, in his usual authoritative manner, stating on Rush Limbaugh’s show that “The idea that Harriet is selected on the basis of cronyism makes no sense at all.”  Yea, right, just like similar charges against Cheney and the Halliburton contracts in Iraq.

            One qualification, it seems, is that the person selected should be loyal above all else.  And one way of proving one’s loyalty is to praise your boss. Former speechwriter David Frum wrote the following in National Review:  “She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met.”  If this doesn’t call into question the level of intelligence of Miers then nothing does!

Appointing Miers is just the last in a long line of Bush appointments of those who have been loyal to him: Margaret Spellings (former Texas aide and White House policy advisor), appointed as Education secretary; promoted his good pal Condi Rice from national security advisor State Department head; promoted White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to become attorney general; and logically selected Miers to take Gonzales’ place.  Gee, I wonder who will replace Miers as White House counsel, an old partner of the Texas Rangers or a golfing buddy?

It has been pointed out that many presidents used to appoint friends to fill important Supreme Court vacancies.  But look at some examples of those “friends”: Felix Frankfurter and William O. Douglas (appointed by FDR), Louis Brandeis (appointed by Woodrow Wilson), and Earl Warren (appointed by Eisenhower).  Anyone want to compare Miers to these giants?

Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, has noted that Miers has “represented a string of large corporations, including Walt Disney Co., Microsoft, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Citibank and the Bank of America.”  She also noted that like Roberts, Miers “has no history of protecting the rights of women, minorities, the poor, the disabled or the environment.”

What is perhaps most disgusting to me is the lavish praise of this unknown and crony of big business from both sides of the aisle.  Frist predictably heaped praise on her, stating that she is “another outstanding nominee,” and one “who understands judicial restraint.”  Whatever that means!  Nevada democrat Harry Reid sounded just like a Republican, noting that “I'm very happy we have someone like her.”  Apparently Reid is glad that Bush did not nominate Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown, both of whom are obvious right-wing zealots eager to advance the conservative cause of big business.

One would hope that someone appointed to the highest court in the land would be at least somewhat intellectually curious and be able to analyze and respond to complex questions.  Judge for yourself, based upon a transcript from her role as deputy chief of staff when she was handling the “Ask the White House” interactive forum.  As noted by Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive, a letter writer asked: “Are we better off now than we were four years ago?”  Her response was as follows: “Thanks, James, this is a very good question, and I am pleased to give you my views. . . . The President’s optimism and faith in the American people and our economy helped inspire a remarkable recovery. . . . The President responded swiftly to the attacks on September 11. . . . Additionally, with victories in Afghanistan and in the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and other efforts around the world, we are promoting freedom and democracy. . . . So James, as you can tell, I think we are much better off than we were four years ago. . . .” 

Ah, such deep thinking and insight, just what we need for a Supreme Court Justice!

By the way, two of my friends have suggested that picking Miers may be a ploy to get either Owen or Brown seated on the high court, reasoning that she is not very likely to be voted in because even many conservatives are objecting to Miers.  I don’t normally like conspiracies, but this makes sense.

I have a better idea.  Since Bush seems to be picking so many without the normal qualifications for such a high office and since it is all bordering on the absurd, I hereby nominate Judge Judy to fill the vacancy left by retiring Sandra Day O’Connor.  This judge has plenty of experience dealing with those sticky legal issues on Court TV, and she is a strong, forceful, no-holds-barred judge who is far from being a “judicial activist.”  She would make an ideal pick.


© 2005, Randall G. Shelden. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced without permission from the author.