Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Miers Record

Today, Beldar examines Miers's record via published Westlaw cases. Beldar is impressed. Beldar misses the point. Miers's record as a practicing lawyer is just fine, perhaps even enviable for most. But -- and here's the rub -- it does nothing to distinguish her from thousands of other gifted litigators practicing across the country. So she had Microsoft and Disney as clients. Big whoop. Lots and lots and lots of lawyers have big time clients with big time legal issues. I've represented more than one (okay, two) Fortune 10 clients myself in bet-the-company litigation (think tobacco and lead paint) and have a Westlaw trail that, according to Beldar's anaylsis (stature of client/difficulty of issues/stakes/result), is at least equally impressive.

By way of comparison, the last lawyer I vetted for local counsel had well over 75 published opinions in federal and state courts and was just a terrific Kansas City litigator. Despite the strong record, he was probably not SCOTUS material. And I too have worked in the White House Counsel's office (in fairness, I was not the boss), though you've surely never heard of me. Would I make a good judge. Perhaps. Would I be an Easterbrook-Kozinski-Selya-Posner-Luttig type of judge right out of the box? No way. It would take years of practice and may still never happen. Yes, Beldar misses the point . . . entirely. But still, good work. It would have been nice if this news had come from somewhere else, say, oh, I don't know, the Administration.

This post is not intended to belittle Miers's record as a litigator. I don't know her. For all I know she may have serious trial chops. All well and good. Still, I see nothing in her career to suggest she has ever had any interest in sitting on the federal bench, let alone on the United States Supreme Court. Surveying the Circuit Courts, I see numerous individuals who have worked for many years honing their skills for this opportunity. Is Miers qualified? I've never said she wasn't. Is she the most qualified? Not by a long shot.