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Tuesday, October 04, 2005 

Bush picks completely unknown quantity for supreme court.

Bush seems to have picked a blinder for the newly available seat on the US supreme court, left open following Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement. Harriet Miers is unknown to almost everyone in America apart from the minority of politics nerds. She's been with Bush for over 20 years, first as his lawyer and then as a lottery chief. It follows the pattern of him picking buddies and old acquaintances for various jobs in government. Most of all though, no one properly knows what her politics are.

While Harriet Miers has obviously worked for Bush and is said to be solidly conservative, there is very little to go on as to know what her views on such litmus issues as state powers, abortion and affirmative action are. She has donated money to both the Republicans and Democrats, including to the Al Gore 2000 campaign. The only slight blot she has is that she supported a call for a referendum in the American Bar Association to reconsider its view on abortion rights. Apart from that, she's almost entirely clean.

She has already though stirred controversy on both left and right. The left are rather critical that she has never served as judge, although William Rehnquist also had not served as a judge before being appointed to the supreme court. That doesn't really allay their concerns though, as Rehnquist himself was thought to be a centrist who moved sharply to the far right. The right wanted an ideological conservative which would have swayed the balance of the court. They don't seem to realise that the Democrats would have done everything in their power to stop such a divisive appointment, and would likely have succeeded. Instead, Bush has rather cleverly chosen a candidate who will get through the hearings and be appointed unopposed. She can say whatever crap she likes in front of the Senate; there's not much they can do once she's on the supreme court. This isn't to say that Harriet Miers is definitely right wing. Such a pick would cause an already split nation another round of culture wars. We'll see what happens, but the best thing to hope for is that Bush has made the right decision in keeping the supreme court balanced, as the United States itself is.

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