I have to say that this op-ed from Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition alleging that there has been some sort of double-standard in the treatment of Elena Kagan and Harriet Miers might just be the dumbest thing that anyone has written during this entire confirmation process:
The parallels between the nominations of Kagan and Miers — their similar legal background and connection to the presidents who nominated them — makes the various reactions from the right and the left stand in stark contrast. While Miers was harassed and criticized by both sides of the aisle until she withdrew her name from consideration, Kagan has faced relatively mild opposition, and this coming almost exclusively from the right.
Why the deferential treatment for the current nominee? It seems as though Kagan’s friends in the executive and legislative branches have no problem with her aforementioned disqualifications. Harriet Miers’s close connection to President Bush was unacceptable to many, but Elena Kagan’s connection to President Obama and her political ties to many left-wing causes is permissible, according to those who would like to give her activist tendencies new life with this increased power.
What on earth is Lafferty talking about? As she freely admits, it was the opposition of conservatives that caused Miers’ nomination to be withdrawn by President Bush. It was right-wing leaders who screamed and yelled that Miers was insufficiently conservative, which made her unqualified for a seat on the Supreme Court.
Lafferty claims that Miers was forced to withdraw due to opposition from “both sides of the aisle,” which is just laughably false, as it was the concerted efforts of conservative activists who organized opposition campaigns that took out Harriet Miers:
According to “WithdrawMiers.org,” a coalition formed by the Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Fidelis, and others for the sole purpose of opposing the nomination: “Miers’ … few published writings offer no real insight or assurance of a judicial philosophy that reflects a commitment to the Constitution.” And on issues where Miers had something of a record, WithdrawMiers.org was not impressed: “Ms. Miers fought to remove the pro-abortion plank in the American Bar Association platform, yet fought this Bush Administration in ending the ABA’s role in vetting judges which is known to be biased against judges whose judicial philosophies reflect a clear commitment to the Constitution. She donated money to a Texas pro-life group, yet helped establish an endowed lecture series at Southern Methodist University that brought pro-abortion icons Gloria Steinem and Susan Faludi to campus.”
Like WithdrawMiers.org, Americans for Better Justice sprang up simply to oppose the Miers nomination. Founded by ultra-conservatives like David Frum, Linda Chavez, and Roger Clegg, ABJ was unconvinced that Miers shared its founders’ right-wing views and began gathering signatures on a petition demanding Miers’ withdrawal: “The next justice of the Supreme Court should be a person of clear, consistent, and unashamed conservative judicial philosophy … The next justice should be someone who has demonstrated a deep engagement in the constitutional issues that regularly come before the Supreme Court — and an appreciation of the originalist perspective on those issues … For all Harriet Miers’ many fine qualities and genuine achievements, we the undersigned believe that she is not that person.”
The right-wing magazine National Review had, in many ways, led the charge against the Miers nomination from the very beginning. Its writers called Miers “a very, very bad pick,” declared her nomination “the most catastrophic political miscalculation of the Bush presidency” and complained that the Right had been forced to endure “an embarrassingly lame campaign from the White House, the Republican National Committee, and their surrogates.”
What caused this gnashing of teeth was the fact that, according to the National Review’s editorial board, “There is very little evidence that Harriet Miers is a judicial conservative, and there are some warnings that she is not … neither being pro-life or an evangelical is a reliable guide to what kind of jurisprudence she would produce, even on Roe, let alone on other issues.”
Others on the Right were just as dismayed by the nomination. American Values’ Gary Bauer explained: “[Harriet Miers] has not written one word, said one word, given a speech, written a letter to the editor on any of the key constitutional issues that conservatives care about and are worried about and want to make sure the court does not go down the road on.”
The Wall Street Journal called the nomination a “political blunder of the first order,” lamenting that “After three weeks of spin and reporting, we still don’t know much more about what Ms. Miers thinks of the Constitution.”
Stephen Crampton of the American Family Association said Miers is a “stealth candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court [and] is an unknown with no paper trail,” while the Christian Defense Coalition blasted the president, saying his supporters “did not stand out in the rain for 20 hours passing out literature or putting up signs for the President to have him turn around and nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. A nominee in which there is no record of their judicial philosophy or view of the Constitution.”
Back when John Roberts was preparing for his confirmation hearing, Concerned Women for America was praising him as a “highly qualified nominee with extraordinary personal integrity who has proven himself worthy to sit on our nation’s highest court.” CWA said “Senators should ignore the ridiculously inappropriate litmus tests and document demands of the radical left” and that Roberts “should receive overwhelming bi-partisan support and confirmation.”
This is in stark contrast to the stand CWA took on Miers: “We believe that far better qualified candidates were overlooked and that Miss Miers’ record fails to answer our questions about her qualifications and constitutional philosophy … We do not believe that our concerns will be satisfied during her hearing.” In calling for her withdrawal, CWA revealed their real objection: “Miers is not even close to being in the mold of Scalia or Thomas, as the President promised the American people.” They demanded that the president give them a “nomination that we can whole-heartedly endorse.”
It was right-wing leaders who vehemently opposed Miers over concerns that she not conservative enough … and now Lafferty is accusing the Left of being hypocritical for supporting Kagan?