Quantcast

If Not Miers, Who? | The Nation

  •  

Subject to Debate

If Not Miers, Who?

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

Dear Karl Rove,

About the Author

Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt is well known for her wit and her keen sense of both the ridiculous and the sublime. Her "Subject to...

Also by the Author

The law, passed in 1993 with near-unanimous support, has become an excuse for bigotry, superstition and sectarianism.

There’s no telling how far religious exemptions will go under Justice Alito’s ruling.

I understand you're getting a lot of flak over the nomination of Harriet Miers to that pesky slot on the Supreme Court. Just in case it doesn't work out, I would like to propose another candidate: me. I realize my name might not be on your short list, since this is a new ambition of mine, and I haven't had time to organize a big shmoozy campaign like some people I could mention. It was actually the Miers nomination that gave me the idea--some people thought, Why her?, but I thought, Why not me? To save time in case you have to move quickly, I've prepared a list of reasons I would be the perfect person to refute the kinds of nasty, rude, unfair arguments being made by Ms. Miers's opponents. I think you will see I have all her strengths, and then some!

1. I am a woman and, moreover, have been one for years. I realize that means I will be subjected to a lot of sexist comments: The media will do silly pieces about my cooking and clothes and whether I am really as bad a mother as all that. Your enemies, of course, will say you chose me because of my sex. Here's the perfect double-whammy defense: While Laura Bush suggests that anyone who criticizes me is a creepy misogynist, which happens to be what I think too (perhaps she could also mention that my daughter has no actual criminal record and surely that counts for something), you point out that there are currently around 113 million adult women in the United States. Obviously if you just wanted a woman, you would never have chosen me. You would have chosen one of those other women--a reactionary judge like Edith Jones or Priscilla Owen, or maybe Jennifer Aniston because Brad has been so mean.

2. I am not a Christian. This may not strike you as an advantage, given the nature of your base, but think about it. Right now, the Christian right is split: James Dobson says you told him something on the phone about Miers that reassured him greatly, but Gary Bauer doubts she is "a vote for our values." At Miers's own evangelical church, the congregation stood up and applauded; but at other churches the pews are in revolt. Honestly, who can figure these people out? They only stopped burning each other at the stake a few centuries ago. Nominating me will unify them instantly: I'm a half-Jewish half-Episcopalian atheist. When they make a fuss, just tell them God told the President to pick me. Given the other advice God's been giving him--to invade Iraq, for example--it could even be true.

3. I am not a lawyer. George Will and William Kristol and a lot of other pundits complain that Miers isn't qualified for the Court because she's not a judge, and her area of legal expertise is serving the President, which is not the same as constitutional law--at least not yet. In my opinion these whiners are just elitist lawyer-haters. But you know what? Everyone seems to hate lawyers, so why not throw George and Bill a bone and nominate me? You'll please the snobs who pooh-pooh Miers's lack of credentials--I have many credentials; they just happen to be in areas other than the law--and you'll please the populists, who don't think credentials matter. That seems to be your guiding philosophy too--Michael Brown went from horses to hurricanes, Karen Hughes is traipsing about the Middle East marketing America to Muslims--and who is to say you're wrong? As Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn observed in defense of Julie Myers, nominated to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency despite her complete lack of relevant experience, "She doesn't know what can't be done." I can promise you, neither do I!

4. I am not a woman of mystery. Everyone's trying to figure out Miers's views on abortion. We know she's against it--she goes to an antichoice church; she gave money to Texans United for Life; when she was president of the Texas Bar Association in the early 1990s she lobbied to get the ABA to rescind its official support for Roe v. Wade. But is she really, really against it? The President tried to calm his base by saying he knew her and she would never change, wink-wink. But that was just confusing. After all, she changed once--she used to be a Catholic and a Democrat, and in 1998 she even helped start a feminist lecture series at Southern Methodist University (first speaker: Gloria Steinem)--so how can the President be so sure she won't change again? You could turn around one day and see her sitting up there, next to Antonin Scalia, in a burqa. My views on abortion, by contrast, are a matter of endless, possibly even tedious, record, and they have been the same since I knew what abortion was. There will be no need to play the old game of trying to persuade both sides that the candidate is with them without actually saying what the candidate thinks. If people ask you what my position on abortion is, you can just tell them!

What else? Unlike Miers, no one can say I'm a crony--I've never even met the President, and the only Republicans I know were so disgusted by the Katrina thing they might as well be Democrats--in fact, don't laugh, it could happen. Another plus: I'm a quick study, so I'm not too worried about the learning curve if I get on the Bench. Besides, the Constitution isn't very long; I could probably even memorize it if that would help me bond with the other Justices. The President says he expects the Court merely to apply the law, not make the law, and that doesn't sound very difficult, does it? The Justices probably go on about what a tough job they have just so we'll think they're so smart. But if I do have questions, I can always ask Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Looking forward to hearing from you, perhaps sooner than you think!

Sincerely yours,

Katha Pollitt

cc: President George W. Bush

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.