Monday, October 10, 2005

Harriet Miers: Lowest Common Denominator

One thought, which seems to be neglected in the current debate over the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, is that Miers may represent the lowest common denominator for confirmable judges. That is, she is acceptable, although barely, to most U.S. senators and special interest groups because they know so little about her that they can find nothing to object to.

As more and more special interest groups become involved in the confirmation process, it becomes more difficult to confirm a judge who has a paper trail showing strong positions on judicial issues. On the Right, business conservatives and social conservatives have different views. On the Left, environmental groups and pro-abortion groups do not focus on the same issues. As the courts have pushed more and more to be the final arbiters to resolve political debates, more political groups are trying to influence the selection of judges.

On the more high-profile Supreme Court nominations, the concerns of the special interest groups become even greater. In such an environment, confirmation of a judge with known views may be difficult or impossible. The result is the nomination of individuals with little or no paper trail, which yields less qualified nominees such as Miers.


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