Thursday, October 13, 2005

From the Horse's Mouth

Today, safely (or not so safely) protected by the New York Times Reader Prevention Program, David Brooks drives home the folly of the Harriet Miers SCOTUS nomination (h/t Ron James). (David Brooks? He writes for a private, subscription-only website.) Well, it's not so much Brooks who drives folly home, but Miers herself who takes the wheel. See, Brooks's column largely consists of quotations drawn from Miers's writings while President of the Texas Bar Association. The quotes -- culled from a monthly President's column -- are sloppy in their syntax and dowright pedestrian in their significance:

“More and more, the intractable problems in our society have one answer: broad-based intolerance of unacceptable conditions and a commitment by many to fix problems.”

Or this: “We must end collective acceptance of inappropriate conduct and increase education in professionalism.”

Or this: “When consensus of diverse leadership can be achieved on issues of importance, the greatest impact can be achieved.”

Or passages like this: “An organization must also implement programs to fulfill strategies established through its goals and mission. Methods for evaluation of these strategies are a necessity. With the framework of mission, goals, strategies, programs, and methods for evaluation in place, a meaningful budgeting process can begin.”

Or, finally, this: “We have to understand and appreciate that achieving justice for all is in jeopardy before a call to arms to assist in obtaining support for the justice system will be effective. Achieving the necessary understanding and appreciation of why the challenge is so important, we can then turn to the task of providing the much needed support.”

Brooks's analysis, although a bit mean-spirited, is nevertheless accurate:
Nearly every idea is vague and depersonalized. Nearly every debatable point is elided. It’s not that Miers didn’t attempt to tackle interesting subjects. She wrote about unequal access to the justice system, about the underrepresentation of minorities in the law and about whether pro bono work should be mandatory. But she presents no arguments or ideas, except the repetition of the bromide that bad things can be eliminated if people of good will come together to eliminate bad things.
Exactly what we need to see from the Supreme Court -- thoughtless and hollow bromides. More here.