Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Miers' responses to the Judiciary Committee's questionaire

Is here. Updates after I read it.

Update #1: In one of Miers' cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (a criminal appeal taken pro bono) the opposing counsel was, ta da, then-Solicitor General Robert H. Bork. Guess who won. See Popeko v. United States, 423 U.S. 917 (1975) and its prior history.

Update #2: Reading Miers' questionnaire answers reminds me of poorly written and awkward resumes and cover letters I review. Language like "In addition to my practice of law, my experience includes running and holding public office" is just plain poor, grammatically incorrect ("running for and holding public office"), and sillily (that's a word, trust me) inflating of barely relevant experience ("proficient in Microsoft Word!").

Update #3: My god, it's worse than I thought. Check out this barely coherent paragraph:

"My experience on the City Council helps me understand the interplay between serving on a policy making board and serving as a judge. An example, of this distinction can be seen in a vote of the council to ban flag burning. The Council was free to state its policy position, we were against flag burning. The Supreme Court's role was to determine whether our Constitution allows such a ban. The City Council was anxious to encourage minority and women-owned businesses, but our processes had to conform to equal protection requirements, as well."
Where to start? First, she does not mean "interplay" she means "distinction" as she says in the next sentence. The two are not synonyms. There may be "interplay" between the City Council and judges, but there is no "interplay" between serving on the City Council and serving as a judge, which in this context seems to suggest the same person (i.e., her) holding both positions at different times (making "interplay" almost logically impossible). In the next sentence, what is that comma doing between "example" and "of"? (Caveat: I am getting Miers' response from the WaPo's website in electronic form (not .pdf) and it is possible that they have not copied Miers' response correctly as I have noticed numerous formatting errors. This paragraph is formatted correctly, though.) In the next sentence, another misuse of the comma - the comma separates two complete sentences. It should be a semi-colon or a dash.

Finaly, what the heck is that last sentence (also with a stray comma) doing in this paragraph? She begins the paragraph by saying "[a]n example" yet apparently tries to fit in another example at the end without saying, "another example." Moreover, this other example adds nothing about the distinction between the roles of an elected legislator and a judge. Ok, so the City Council had to deal with Constitutional issues when it wanted to discriminate in favor of minorities and women (disturbing in and of itself that Miers chooses this as an example). How does this have anything to do with describing the differences in roles between legislators and judges? If anything, it seems to conflate the two roles.

I assume this questionnaire was proof-read by literate adults. If this is the best they could do to Miers' original draft, boy will her law clerks have their work cut out for them.

Update #4: Ok, I read the "judicial activism" part and whoever wrote her response did a fairly good job coping from Roberts' response in his questionnaire. I still highly doubt Miers has the intellectual firepower to out argue Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer, and spot the fallacies, sophistry and just plain errors in their opinions.


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