Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bush on Harriet Miers

All of the following quotes are from the President's recent press availability discussing the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

I know her well enough to be able to say that she's not gonna change. That 20 years from now, she'll be the same person with the same philosophy that she is today. She'll have more experience, she'll have been a judge, but nevertheless her philosophy won't change. That's important to me. That was important to me when I picked Chief Justice Roberts, and it's important to me in picking Harriet Miers.
Mr. President, are you the same person that you were 20 years ago? For that matter, are you the same person you were 5 years ago? Do you view the balance of federal and state power differently as President than you did as governor of Texas? If not, why not? Has your philosophy on the War on Drugs changed in the last 20 years? Do you believe that America's best interests would have been served had you been imprisoned for smoking marijuana? Don't forget that 20 years ago was before your famous 40th birthday epiphany of sobriety. How do you square your unwavering vocal support for the War on Drugs with your recent decision to pardon drug dealers, moonshiners, and counterfeiters?
I don't want somebody to go on the bench to try to supplant the legislative process. I'm interested in people who will be strict constructionists.
No, supplanting the legislative process is the executive's role in our government. That's the President's job, to know better than Congress.
She's eminently qualified, she shares my judicial philosophy, she is a pioneer when it comes to the law, she's an extraordinary woman. The decision of whether or not there'll be a fight is up to the Democrats. They get to decide whether or not the special interests will get to set the tone of the debate.
In other words, no Republican could possibly have any doubts about her qualifications or her judicial philosophy, just because she is patently unqualified — inarguably even less qualified to sit on the bench than Clarence Thomas — and just because we know more about my judicial philosophy than we do about hers? (I'll grant you that she was a pioneer in fighting her way into the legal profession at a time when women were hardly accepted at all, and certainly not as equals, and I'll take your word that she's an extraordinary person, but frankly no, Mr. President, I am not willing to just take you at your word that you know what you're doing with this appointment, and neither are the majority of the American people. Nor should we be.)

Also, Democrats please take note: the President has said unambiguously that you get to "decide whether or not the special interests will get to set the tone of the debate" — in other words, it is up to you to keep this process from being a rubber-stamp of the corporate interests of Halliburton and the oil companies and other "haves and have-mores." I'm talking to Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein and Pat Leahy, among others.
People know we're close, but you've got to understand, because of our closeness, I know the character of the person. It's one thing to say a person can read the law and understand the law, and that's important, but what also matters, Adam [Adam Entous, reporter for Reuters news service], is the intangibles. To me a person's strength of character counts a lot.
Tell us about how strength of character guided you to pick Michael Brown to be head of FEMA, Mr. President. Tell us again how you looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes and saw the soul of a little-D democrat. Tell us about how you yourself displayed strength of character in vocally supporting the Vietnam War, but refusing to serve in any meaningful way. Tell us about your strength of character in fully supporting all best efforts to determine the fair and honest winner of the elections in Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004.
Not to my recollection have I ever sat down with her [to discuss the issue of abortion].
You mean to tell me that you never discussed with your own personal lawyer the legal points of one of the most important policy issues that faced you as governor, not to mention as President? Can you understand my skepticism?
People talk about "executive privilege" and "documents," and secondly, it is important that we maintain executive privilege in the White House. That's part of the deliberative process. That's how I'm able to get good, sound opinions from people.
Mr. President, documents that Harriet Miers wrote for you in your capacity as governor of Texas are not properly subject to claims of executive privilege. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, documents that Harriet Miers wrote for you in her capacity as your personal attorney before you became President are wholly outside the realm of executive privilege. All that is without even considering that executive privilege is not an absolute blanket covering all executive branch records without limitation.
I actually listen to the Senators when they bring forth ideas, and they brought forth some really interesting ideas during the course of our conversations, some told to me directly, many brought to me by people on my staff, and one of the most interesting ideas that I heard was, why don't you pick somebody who hasn't been a judge?
Gee, Li'l Georgie, I don't know. Why not pick a FEMA director who has no experience in managing emergencies, nor even with managing a federal agency? Or how about a U.N. ambassador who has publicly described the U.N. as completely useless? Or how about an Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy who has no experience whatsoever with public diplomacy?

It's time for America to hold George W. Bush accountable for the horrifically unwise appointments he has made to important positions that influence the lives of real human beings.