Legal Times Op Ed on Miers:

This week's Legal Times contains my op ed on the Miers nomination (subscriber only). The column expands on some of the points I made last week on "The Court and the Legal Culture" and responds to those who have suggested that I should be careful what I wish for. (Also, I didn't choose the title for the Legal Times column.)

Paul Johnson (mail):
I think everyone has overlooked the truly good news of the Miers nomination: at least a half million attorneys in the U.S. received a nice ego boost with the sudden realization that they are qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.
10.12.2005 3:25pm
nc_litigator (mail):
another op ed today (not by me) that is supportive of miers because of her different path to the bench:

She's a lawyer with practice


Yet, as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said, as "bright and brilliant and as good a lawyer as Judge Roberts was...he'd never taken a deposition, he'd never picked a jury, never tried a case." And there, partisan politics aside, is where the problem with the usual Supreme-Court-nominee suspects resides.

• • •

For those of us lawyers on the front lines, the decisions of the Supreme Court seem more and more unmoored from the real world of what happens in courtrooms and law offices across America. Given the ivory-tower backgrounds of so many of the justices, this should come as no surprise. Moreover, the echo-chamber environment of the Supreme Court itself makes it even less likely that a justice will encounter the real world and its practicalities upon ascension to the court.

Critically, for every Supreme Court decision concerning hot-button social issues there are dozens that affect the way civil and criminal justice in this country is meted out. An appreciation for those practicalities is not something one learns easily on a law school faculty or in a federal agency. The best place to understand practical consequences — many of them unintended — is actually practicing law, as Miers has done for most of her career.

. . .

I don't know if Miers is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. That's for the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate and the full Senate to decide. Although she's likely to remain an enigma for some time to come, I'm glad to see someone from the trenches given a chance to have influence on our highest court.
10.12.2005 3:26pm
james23 (mail):
The NC editorial assumens that Miers had an active litigation practice. But is that true? I have looked high and low for some statement of actual numbers of jury trials under her belt as first chair; and how many appeals argued. Like just about everything else about her, that info is not available.
10.12.2005 7:03pm
erp (mail):
When does the ABA weigh in with their rating?
10.13.2005 9:29am
nc_litigator (mail):
james23 - good point. i don't know.
10.13.2005 9:37am
Ciarand Denlane (mail) (www):
"I think everyone has overlooked the truly good news of the Miers nomination: at least a half million attorneys in the U.S. received a nice ego boost with the sudden realization that they are qualified to sit on the Supreme Court."

Quite Somewhat the opposite, I would think. Meirs' qualifications may not place her in the top 100, or top 1000 (a point on which I express no opinion), but they look to me to be substantially better than those of a large majority of the lawyers in the country. Those lawyers would likely see the forcefully expressed opinions that Meirs is unqualified as a fortiori applicable to their qualifications. Maybe most of them never harbored any notion that they were qualified for elevation to the Supreme Court (let alone harbored an ambition for elevation, which requires a certain masochism these days), but for many such lawyers it still might not be an "ego boost" to be reminded forcefully of the chasm between one's own qualifications and those of the elite in one's chosen profession.
10.13.2005 1:51pm
Richard 2 (mail):
Well, look at it this way.

Almost every law professor in the country now thinks that she or he is better qualified than Miers.

Law professors don't make much money; they need an ego boast now and then.
10.13.2005 5:57pm
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6.16.2006 9:47pm