The "harriet Miers" Meme

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THE PLANK MAY 26, 2009

The "harriet Miers" Meme

Both Curt Levey and Ramesh Ponnuru are arguing that Sotomayor is to Obama as Harriet Miers was to George W. Bush. The obvious insinuation here is that, like Miers, Sotomayor is an intellectual lightweight. But despite what's been written and said about Sotomayor on that score, I think it's going to be much tougher to make that case against her than it was against Miers.

The criticism resonated when it was made against Miers, after all, because of her resume (undergrad and law degrees from Southern Methodist University) and her close personal realtionship with Bush (who first hired her as his personal lawyer when he was Texas Governor and later brought her along to Washington to work in the White House). Indeed, it's pretty much inconceivable that any President other than Bush would have ever dreamed of her nominating her to the Court.

The same just can't be said about Sotomayor, who went to Princeton for undergrad and Yale for law school, and who was being talked about as a potential Supreme Court nominee when Bill Clinton was president. 

In the grand scheme of things, none of these attacks on Sotomayor are likely to matter. This whole confirmation "fight" is going to be kabuki. But even kabuki has to be at least slightly grounded in reality. The Sotomayor = Miers argument just isn't.

--Jason Zengerle

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