Who among us does not love George Will?
Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption -- perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting -- should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due.
It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.
He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.
The wisdom of presumptive opposition to Miers's confirmation flows from the fact that constitutional reasoning is a talent -- a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest. It is not usually acquired in the normal course of even a fine lawyer's career. The burden is on Miers to demonstrate such talents, and on senators to compel such a demonstration or reject the nomination.
The Other George W. also makes some entertaining digressions into bashing the unconstitutionality of McCain-Feingold (the signing of which forever "forfeited [Bush's] right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution") and identity politics, although I think he's correct that attempts to portray Miers as a victim of discrimination are laughable.
Alas, being a conservative jerkwad, he still pulls his punches and says nothing about Michael Brown and Bush's alarming pattern of putting startlingly unqualified cronies in critical positions to reward their loyalty. But it's a start, and I always enjoy it when conservatives have moments of lucidity (or is it self-preservation?) about Dubya's all-encompassing lack of competence or seriousness.