Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Harriet Miers - The Originalist

Miers appears to believe in the Constitution as a dead (as opposed to a living) document. Except for the later amendments, only what the Founding Fathers would have intended when the Constitution was written matters. I can't quite get this way of thinking, because the right to bear arms would then have to be limited to those types of guns that were available in the eighteenth century. We have, after all, no information about the Founding Fathers' opinions on later models. This may be flippant but the point of it is not.

Miers is also a very fundamentalist type of Christian. Molly Ivins writes:

Uh-oh. Now we are in trouble. Doesn't take much to read the tea leaves on the Harriet Miers nomination. First, it's Bunker Time at the White House. Miers' chief qualification for this job is loyalty to George W. Bush and the team. What the nomination means in larger terms for both law and society is the fifth vote on the court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Aside from that bothersome little matter, the Miers appointment is like that of John Roberts -- could've been worse. Not as bad as Edith Jones, not as bad as Priscilla Owen -- and you should see some of our boy judges from Texas.

Miers, like Bush himself, is classic Texas conservative Establishment, with the addition of Christian fundamentalism. What I mean by fundamentalist is one who believes in both biblical inerrancy and salvation by faith alone.
Miers' church states on its website that it believes in biblical inerrancy, full immersion baptism, original sin and salvation dependent entirely upon accepting Jesus Christ. Everyone else is going to hell.

I have said for years about people in public life, "I don't write about sex, drugs or rock 'n' roll." If I had my druthers, I wouldn't write about the religion of those in public life, either, as I consider it a most private matter. Separation of church and state is in the Constitution because this country was founded by people who had experienced both religious persecution and state-supported religions. I think John F. Kennedy's 1960 statement to the Baptist ministers should stand as a model of how public servants should handle the relation between religious belief and public service.

Nevertheless, we are now beset by people who insist on dragging religion into governance -- and who themselves believe they are beset by people determined to "drive God from the public square."

This division has been in part created by and certainly aggravated by those seeking political advantage. It is a recipe for an incredibly damaging and serious split in this country, and I believe we all need to think long and carefully before doing anything to make it worse.

As an 1803 quote attributed to James Madison goes: "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."

Some good points there, but it is already too late. Ms. Miers will be the fifth vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and she will add to the full quiver of holy arrows on the Supreme Court. Gilead and all that.

By the way, an excellent source of left and right opinions on the Miers nomination can be found here.