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The Trouble with Harriet

by JOSHUA FRANK

 

Who would have thought that Harriet Miers, President Bush’s choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, would be such a divisive figure? The conservative establishment hates her and the Democrats could care less.

It’s not so surprising, really, that liberals aren’t posing any probing questions about Miers’ close connection to GW. Clearly it doesn’t bother the Dems that she was paid $19,000 to help Bush dodge National Guard questions back in Texas in the mid-1990s by playing a scandalous role in silencing Benjamin Barnes, the man who supposedly had the lowdown on how Bush got out of serving in Vietnam. Nor does it bother the Democrats that Miers’ old firm Locke, Liddell & Sapp, was allegedly complicit in aiding a client in defrauding investors while she was an acting partner. Nope, the liberals are agreeably silent as usual. Only conservatives seem infuriated this time around.

“Harriet Miers isn’t qualified to play a Supreme Court justice on The West Wing, let alone to be a real one,” says the radical right’s leading lady, Ann Coulter. “If Harriet Miers were not a crony of the president of the United States, her nomination to the Supreme Court would be a joke,” wrote conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post.

It’s Washington politics at its finest. Bush has put up a nominee with absolutely no judicial experience whatsoever as payback to the Democrats for their overwhelming confirmation of archconservative John Roberts. But despite Miers brief past as a conservative Democrat in the 1980s, and her firm’s $1,000 contribution to Hillary Clinton’s senatorial bid, there can be no mistake that Miers is a political pawn that will most likely be repaying the Bush family for years to come.

Just because Miers has never tried a case doesn’t mean she won’t be a conservative judge. Certainly, as her tenure at Locke, Liddel & Sapp indicates, the old lady has a penchant for enabling the criminally inclined. Perhaps she’ll be defending Bush and his cohorts on the other side of the courtroom table in the years to come.

But don’t believe all the conservative hype over Harriet Miers. They aren’t really all that peeved over Bush’s blatant cronyism — if that really was their concern they would have raised the same red flag over his connections to Halliburton and Enron, too. No, the whole uproar over Miers is about Bush not showcasing the radical Right’s backward political platform, not nepotism.

No matter what most right-leaning critics of Miers say, they are more concerned with her vague social policy stances than her connections to the Bush gang. The Right is horrified about the possibility that Miers will turn out to be the next Sandra Day. Surely that’s what the Democrats are hoping for. But unlike O’Connor, one thing is crystal clear: the Miers nomination is more about politics than constitutional law.

Miers is no scholar, just a political operative. That alone should concern all those who don’t trust Bush any further than they could throw him. If only Democrats could turn against Miers with the same vigor as Coulter and crew have. I think we’re more likely to see Bush get caught with a cigar and an intern than for that to ever happen.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua@brickburner.org.

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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