Monday, October 10, 2005

A liberal understands the Republican base better than the White House

Via, we learn of a liberal who understands the stakes in the Miers pick. Said liberal is Rogers Cadenhead. Now, if I had just told you the name, you could probably guess he is a liberal, but I digress ... The liberal is spot on in this instance, and here is his take:
Stealth nominees have a strategic short-term advantage that makes it difficult to keep them off the court, so it’s likely that Miers will be confirmed unless President Bush withdraws the nomination, which ranks in probability somewhere between “no chance in hell” and “never in a million years.” The president’s so stubborn that were he captain of the Titanic, he would have run the ship into a second iceberg to prove he meant to hit the first one.

There’s a long-term price for filling the Supreme Court in secrecy . . . . Conservatives have built an intellectual foundation for their interpretation of constitutional law over a quarter century, as embodied by the Federalist Society and the embrace of originalism.

Neither Bush appointment has publicly nurtured this movement during their careers. In some instances, they’ve even distanced themselves from it. When asked her most admired Supreme Court justice, Miers did not choose Justices Scalia or Thomas. When John Roberts showed up in a Federalist Society membership directory, the White House issued a quick denial, stating that he “has no recollection of being a member.”

Roger Pilon, a Cato Institute vice president and society member, was stunned to see Roberts run away from the association as if Joseph McCarthy was after him. “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Federalist Society?”

If you’re a 25-year-old conservative who graduated Harvard Law first in your class and clerks for Chief Justice Roberts, do you spend the next 20 years contributing to law journals, actively participating in the Federalist Society and seeking a judgeship from which you can foster conservative jurisprudence?

Clearly, if you have supreme ambitions, the answer is no. By choosing Roberts and Miers, Bush has publicly affirmed the notion that judicial conservatives believe in an ideology that dare not speak its name. Friends of Clarence are the new Friends of Dorothy, forced to develop furtive code phrases to seek each other out — just like how President Bush namedrops Dred Scott as a double-secret shout out to anti-abortion activists.

“I couldn’t help but overhear what you said about Griswold v. Connecticut at the bar, friend. Want to take this someplace more private so we can disrespect stare decisis away from all of these living constitutionalists?”

Harriet Miers is the best thing to happen to liberals since the repeal of anti-sodomy laws. I hope she has a sister.
The liberals have spoken. They love this nomination.

Cadenhead unwittingly, though, makes a more fundamental point: The Left expects more of conservatives than the sneaking "strategery" involved in the Miers nomination. They are loathe to admit this, but they hold us to a higher standard. Yes, I did notice and thank you, Mr. Cadenhead.

Liberals expect intellectual honesty from us, and generally they get it. We in the conservative movement have never been unashamed of conservative jurisprudence. Why should we be? We are winning the debate against unprincipled judges who substitute their liberal policy preferences that would never succeed at the ballot box. We are succeeding on every front, from the court of public opinion to the halls of academia. Virtually every law school in the country talks disdainfully about how Roe v. Wade is a contradictory, result-oriented decision on a collision-course with technology and medical science.

Why is it then, that the White House is ashamed of the Federalist Society, which was co-founded by one of the justices that Pres. Bush claims to admire? Why does the White House act like nominating a conservative to the Supreme Court is the equivalent of nominating a member of the Taliban? Don't they understand that this emboldens liberals and legitimizes their arguments that mainstream conservatives are in fact out of Chuck Schumer's "mainstream"?

One possible answer: The White House is not really that conservative, after all. If you think the WH is really a conservative White House, I would like to hear the evidence. We conservative peasants outside the establishmentarians' palace are getting restless.