Friday, October 07, 2005

Ideology v. Qualification in SCOTUS-nominee voting

Jack Balkin offers a fascinating post on how senators weight ideology versus qualification in determining whether to support a particular Supreme Court nominee. The short story is that Senators will vote pro if a person is either qualified or good on ideology, but that if a candidate is shaky on both counts, they are in trouble. What does this mean for Miers?
Hence the Bush Administration has two basic strategies to secure her nomination. The first is to counteract the image that she lacks the qualifications necessary to be a Supreme Court judge. She will have to impress the Senators at her hearings with her legal acumen and her command of constitutional issues. The second strategy is to convince conservatives that she is a reliable conservative on all the issues they care about. This appears to be the strategy that the White House has settled on for the time being. The reason is simple: President Bush cannot remake Miers' credentials-- they are what they are. But what he can do is send signals that he knows what her views are and that conservatives will like those views. Thus we have already begun to see news stories that Miers is a devoted born-again Christian, that Miers is solid on the War on Terror, and that Miers will support the interests of business.

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