Washington Post columnist George Will stirs up more debate about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, while the current justices hear oral arguments in the federal government's challenge to Oregon's assisted suicide law. Plus, gun-control advocates warn that Florida tourists might be in danger.
George W. vs. George W.: A column by feisty conservative George Will excoriates the president's selection to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's robes (including the spiffy neckerchiefs the female justices get to wear), saying, "If 100 people [capable of such judgment] had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists."
Reactions are crisscrossing ideological lines. Armando at liberal group blog Daily Kos writes that "Dems need to join those Republicans urging a full and frank discussion of Miers' views and philosophy. Republicans want to know. And so should Dems." InstaPundit's libertarian law prof Glenn Reynolds agrees with Will's assertion that Bush is asking the nation to just "trust him" on this nomination and says that the strategy is "falling flat." He cites MysteryPollster's summary of a new Gallup poll, which suggests that the Republican base isn't nearly as enthusiastic about Miers as they were about Roberts. Ann Althouse, a politically moderate law professor, is also nodding her head at Will's column. "I find my instinct to defer to the President's choice fading to nothing," she sighs.
But John Hinderaker at Power Line, a blog by three conservative lawyers, thinks that his fellow righties need to back down. "I don't think Miers was one of the best nominees Bush had available, but no one asked my opinion (or Will's). … I think it would be very foolish for Republicans to start campaigning for Senators to refuse Miers confirmation, on the theory that we would then get someone better." Volokh Conspiracy contributor Orin Kerr has posted a rebuttal to Will's column from lawyer Reginald Brown, who once worked in the White House counsel's office. Brown pronounces the column "both unfair and sloppy," and the usually-Bush-bashing Atrios calls Will "pompous" and "incoherent."
Will also asserts that Bush is hypocritical in demanding a strict interpretation of the Constitution because he signed the McCain-Feingold campaign financing law after calling it unconstitutional. GioBlog's Tom Giovanetti, who's the president of small-government think tank Institute for Policy Innovation, springboards off this argument: "[T]he President also violated the Constitution by not obtaining a clear declaration of war from Congress before proceeding."
Read more about George Will's column.
Assisted suicide: The Supreme Court heard arguments today in the case of Gonzales v. Oregon, the federal government's challenge to an Oregon law allowing physicians to subscribe fatal doses of medicine to patients suffering from terminal illnesses. Lyle of SCOTUSblog posted a recap of today's events, noting that new Chief Justice John Roberts jumped right into the thick of the thorny matter. "Roberts asked rhetorically, 'If one state allows the use of a drug that federal law says is illegal, how is the federal government supposed to enforce that prohibition?' "
Balloon Juice's John Cole is irritated that conservatives say this issue trumps state's rights. "In other words, it is another example of the so called advocates of 'states rights' throwing principle out the window to cater to their pet issues and radical base." But conservative Donkey Stomp says that "the right to murder is not a state issue. It is the government's job to protect the American people."
Whatever ruling the court makes is unlikely to resolve the issue. "The assisted-suicide issue is going to be bigger than abortion, as thebaby boom moves into its senior years," predictsEdge-Centric, the blog by the editor of Ragged Edge Magazine, a publication focusing on the rights of the disabled.
Read more about the assisted suicide debate.
Shoot first:A new Florida gun law expanding the right to use lethal force is creating controversy as the Brady Campaign is passing out a "warning" to Sunshine State tourists. Second Amendment advocates are calling it the "stand your ground" law, while opponents have named it the "shoot first" law.
Righty Pardon My English accuses the Brady Campaign of lying and calling gun control activist Sarah Brady an "[a]nti-gun psycho." At Lair of the Blue Cat, Pamela Heath, a liberal Democrat from a family of hunters, also gets in on the name-calling game: "I think Florida has gone a bit bonkers on this. And I think the National Rifle Association went bonkers long ago."
Jim Druzik of To Be Informed says that he often drives through Florida and the new law has him worried. He calls it "[a]s stupid as the fact that you can still have open alcohol in your car in Texas. Hmmm, Texas ... Florida ... makes one wonder." Right of the Rainbow, the blog of a gay Republican, disagrees. "[I]f you're not a hoodlum, visit Florida. You'll love it."
Read more on the Florida gun-law controversy.