Around Politics: Politics of the Supreme Court and conspiracy theories

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I hope this column is not out of character for The Rock River Times, but I would like to posit a conspiracy theory or two behind the selection of Harriet Miers as the George W. Bush administration nominee for Supreme Court Justice. Since many believe Karl Rove to be the evil genius who spawns every Machiavellian scheme in this White House, I thought I would accept that premise and try to peel away the veil with my own theory.

The seat on the Court that is now being filled is the so-called Sandra Day O’Connor vacancy. It seems reasonable that a woman would be nominated to fill this position now that the William Rehnquist vacancy has been filled with new Chief Justice John Roberts. The Bush administration now comes up with nominee Miers: a woman.

During the Roberts confirmation hearings, the opposition to the Bush nominee—Democrats—were in a difficult position. Judge Roberts had, after all, been confirmed by the majority of senators, including Democrats, for a place on the lower federal court. Since the same issues come up when judges are appointed to any federal court, it would be difficult for senators who had voted to confirm Judge Roberts to now say they had a problem with his nomination.

The timing of the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist then allowed for a lateral move that placed John Roberts on the docket for the position of Chief Justice. My conspiracy theory friends are salivating at this coincidence, but I refuse to go there. The Bush administration response, apparently much quicker than the response to Katrina, was to nominate Judge Roberts for the new vacancy.

Now back to Harriet Miers. Miers is now the nominee for O’Connor/woman’s seat in the chamber; and apparently, she has an even slimmer paper trail than Judge Roberts. Additionally, I alluded last week to the fact that the male Democrat senators will be in an awkward position while questioning Ms. Miers on her stance on women’s issues.

For her part, Miers may not be a judge, and in fact never has been a judge, but she is a well-respected lawyer and was the head of the Texas Bar Association, so she apparently had the respect of her colleagues. Further, 37 Supreme Court justices never were judges, and most legal scholars believe these justices were no better or worse than those who had a judicial background.

Most importantly, nobody really knows where she stands on Roe V. Wade or any other issue for that matter.

I am beginning to believe, as do my friends the conspiracy theorists, that Karl Rove’s fingerprints are all over this. This nomination process will be contentious, but to add to the intrigue, there is opposition coming from the right. The lack of a paper trail has them spooked, so it was “leaked” recently that Miers had a real religious born-again experience and was now a believer and attended a church associated with the religious right. Considering the Palme affair leaks and the sophistication of the quandary for both left and right, could Rove be roving again?

I don’t normally engage in such speculation, but I couldn’t resist. As Supreme Court politics makes everyone unhappy, the Miers nomination gets more interesting everyday.

Jim Thacker is a political consultant and columnist.

From the Oct. 12-18, 2005, issue

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