Wednesday, October 26, 2005

High court deserves better

In a whimsical aside during a university commencement speech, President Bush drew appreciative guffaws from grads by citing himself as a model of how underachieving C-grade students can make it.

That, however, is hardly sound reasoning for nominating Harriet Miers to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice for life.

By all accounts, Miers has never risen above the mediocre skills of a passable Dallas lawyer. She worked herself up to White House general counsel through a shrewd combination of Texas political connections and fawning over George W. Bush, whom she told in a note that he is "the most brilliant man" she knows.

The tip-off to Miers' thin credentials was when she flunked perfunctory questions about constitutional law posed in a routine U.S. Senate questionnaire. Horrified senators of both parties did the unprecedented. They returned the questionnaire to Miers like a term paper being returned to a college freshman for a another try.

If Miers' serious lack in law and equal shortfall in mastery of language required for judicial rulings are grounds for rejecting her, ardent conservatives opposed to her appointment are advancing the wrong argument. They demand a nominee who'll promise a knee-jerk evangelical vote against abortion rather than a justice with the scholarly temperament and integrity to weigh constitutional issues.

The president's insistence that Miers is the best candidate for the court is rubbish. He's attempting to use the high court in the good ol' boy Texas tradition of finding jobs for toadying cronies. The nation and the high court deserve better.

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