Bill Murchison

Oh, well; that's what it has come to. It has come to Harriet Miers.
Are we excited about Miss Miers' nomination, announced Monday by President Bush, to the U.S. Supreme Court? We are about as excited as we would be by the announcement that Bush likes red neckties or brushes with Pepsodent. Yippee. I suppose.

 Harriet Miers, the who's-that? nominee, is the face of Supreme Court politics in the 21st century. She might turn out better than conservatives suppose, as Earl Warren turned out infinitely worse than Dwight Eisenhower, who appointed him chief justice, ever supposed.

 The key to the Miers thing seems to be that conservatives and liberals alike may hope she turns into their ideal, or something akin to it, of the confirmable Supreme Court justice.

 "Confirmable" is what it's all about. If the rare legal gifts of George W. Bush's White House counsel don't precisely glow in the dark, she seems just secret and mysterious enough not to alarm the Senate Judiciary Committee or, rather, the committee's Democrats, who have mastered the art of portraying conservative Republicans as evil, horrible Constitution-hating threats to your liberties and mine.

 It has come to Harriet Miers -- because Senate Democrats have proved united enough, and mean enough, to knock a provable conservative in the head: not counting John Roberts, who just happened to be smarter than his inquisitors.

 To look at Miss Miers' track record is to see the record of someone who has -- um -- been on the track for sure. Look at all the jobs she has held, starting with president of the Texas State Bar and continuing through her present stint as lawyer to the president.

 I first met the lady 26 years or so ago when she was an up-and-coming -- as they used to say back then -- "lady lawyer" in Dallas: a sort of pet of a male legal establishment eager to adopt a more spacious view of its community role. The establishment said, aha, here's a woman we can get behind. It began bowing and scraping to her. She turned up everywhere, generally with a title. I do not call this necessarily a bad thing. I remark that it is a noteworthy thing.

 I have occasionally observed the lady at work, never with much sense of philosophical titillation. I know nothing philosophically indecent about her. I know nothing philosophically -- you know -- grabby about her. I suppose she has thoughts and ideas. Anyone must. What her basic conceptions of liberty and government power may be -- I just couldn't say.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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