2005 October 16 Sunday
Harriet Miers Appointed To Expand Presidential Powers?

Dick Polman of the Knight Ridder Newspapers puts forth a very interesting theory to explain Bush's appointment of Harriet Miers to the US Supreme Court:

But the Miers nomination isn't about abortion at all. It's about putting somebody on the court who will protect the legacy Bush cares about most: the expansion of presidential power during the war on terrorism.

And who best to rule in favor of those expanded powers - the authority to detain "enemy combatants" indefinitely without trial; to prosecute them in Bush-created military tribunals and to limit their right of appeal; to quiz them under flexible rules of interrogation - than a jurist who had been legal counsel and staff aide to the president who sought those powers?

Clearly, the betting inside the White House is that Miers, a public defender of the Patriot Act and a legal adviser on wartime presidential powers, would be more dependable than the justice she would replace. It was Sandra Day O'Connor who warned, in a 2004 ruling that partly reined in Bush's expanded powers, that "a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

Read the whole thing.

For evidence to support his argument Polman points to a Oct. 11, 2005 speech White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card delivered to the Hudson Institute conservative (neoconservative?) think tank where Card laid on heavily the idea that the Congressional and Judicial branches of government are preventing the President from doing what he ought to be able to do. (PDF format)

And I have watched as she has counseled the president as he has had to address some of the most significant challenges in the history of our country, challenges, by the way, that require a constitutional understanding because the demands on the president are frequently challenged by those who want to interrupt the presidentís ability to be president. And our great Constitution does have Article 1 and we are Article 1, and we are represented by people who serve on Capitol Hill, and we have a wonderful branch outlined in Article 3 that provides justice, makes sure that the rule of law is respected and understands that there are consequences of people who donít follow the law.

But itís Article 2 that I find to be the most challenging to understand. Article 2 is the president. Itís the executive branch of government. But Article 2 doesnít talk about the executive branch of government much; it talks about the role of the president as the leader of the executive branch of government. Harriet Miers understand that Constitution, and she has helped guide the president at a time when many of the constitutional outlines have been challenged by others who are also mentioned in the Constitution, Article 1 and Article 3.

So Harriet is an outstanding person and she will be terrific on the court. She will make a great justice and I am excited that the president has nominated her, and I look forward to her hearings, I look forward to her confirmation, and I look forward to her taking that oath. It means so much to all of us. The most moving experience that I have had in government have always centered around a hand going on a Bible, a right hand being raised to God, and words being administered, and in their simple words, simple words: preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Well so much for the balance of power between the branches. Card and Bush want Executive Supremacy on national security issues. As an aide to Bush Miers dutifully supported Bush's attempt to expand his powers and he hopes she'll continue to do that if she makes it onto the Supreme Court.

Alexander Hamilton was right to argue that the US Senate should prevent crony and ally appointments to the US Supreme Court.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 October 16 03:45 PM  Politics American Constitution

FriendlyFire said at October 16, 2005 7:21 PM:

Those on the extreme left are already sprouting theories that the Meiers appointment is to prevent protect Bush after he leaves office.

When Bush leavs Office in 2008 all hes secrets dealings, hidden information and documents will eventually leak out. At which time thses dealings will become public knowledge and criminal charges (laughably some suggest war crime charges, torture memo anyone ?) to be levelled against Bush and hes cronies
By appointing those who loyalty to the President is assured it will guard him against any such future charges.

I find that conspiracy like but given Brown appointment to head of fema Iam not so sure.

Engineer-Poet said at October 16, 2005 8:51 PM:

I'm not sure that Bush's cozying up to the Saudis (our Wahhabi enemies) in a time of war isn't treason by the straight definition in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution.  The administration's policies of increasing oil consumption when it is our biggest Achilles' heel is definitely counter to our national security.

If Bush is prosecuted after leaving office, I would not be surprised if he's convicted of treason (and shot).  It would certainly be a lesson to others.

Kurt said at October 16, 2005 10:43 PM:


Your's is the most accurate, rational explanation I have heard yet for the Meiers appointment to SCOTUS. This fits totally with Dubya's obsession with total loyalty and obedience to his agenda that he has demanded since 9/11 and fits with his excessive vanity as well.

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