Thursday, October 20, 2005

Justice Say No!

So, Harriet Miers.

Despite the fact that kids on both sides of the partisan picket fence have decided to let their homemade volcanoes of rage finally boil over, I still feel pretty clueless about this woman. She's been called a "pitbull in size six shoes" by our fair leader, but from what I've seen and read of her she's considerably less than worthy of such a snappy moniker. Ms. Miers seems to me to be much more like the packet of oyster crackers that arrive beside your cup of beef barley--the kind of thing you didn't ask for, don't particularly want, and just can't really get into for all its blandness.

The only sign of life I've seen out of this woman is her adamant support of George Bush and his every political endeavor. By now we've all seen the syrupy notes from the nominee to the President (then Governor of Texas), but this can't really amount to a condemnation of Miers as a nominee. She likes the president and she said she thought he was "the best governor ever."

I can't find the letter from which that quote was taken, but I believe I read it was a thank you note. I have a childhood's worth of thank you notes to my grandmothers declaring each of them "the best grandmother ever," but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm ready to testify to the truth of those statements before the Senate Judiciary Committee, you know? Didn't you ever learn about white lies to spare someone's feelings?

So I'm not so much concerned about good ol' Harry's pledged allegiance to the Prez. I'm also not entirely ready to write her off for being a Christian because she hasn't yet spoken about how her politics and her faith interact.

This is the problem, though. She hasn't yet spoken about anything in any way as to allow a decent look at her judicial philosophy.

I'm not sure what to think about her lawyering because no one seems to be able to tell me about the cases she's worked on. No one (including Miers herself) has illuminated her stance on basically any issue sizzling on the collective American plate. Like many, I was hoping that her answers to the nominee questionnaire would give me an inkling as to why this woman was chosen above every other law professional in the United States to sit on the Supreme Court, as well as how she might act in that capacity.

Yeah, well, no dice on that. According to the New York Times:

...One inquiry in the original questionnaire pointedly asked her about reports that in conference calls with conservative supporters the administration and its allies had offered private assurances about her views on abortion and other matters.

The first part of the question asked if she had made any statement to anyone about how she might rule from the bench, and a second part requested information about "all communications by the Bush administration or individuals acting on behalf of the administration to any individuals or interest groups with respect to how you would rule."

Ms. Miers's one-word answer to both was "No."

I am trying to think back on how many job applications I have filled out since the very beginning of my working career. I worked as a camp counselor when I was in sixth grade, a library volunteer throughout middle school, a birthday party assistant at around the same time, a music teacher and administrative assistant in high school, a counselor at another camp, a vitamin salesperson at a health food store, a gym monitor, a bartender, a Resident Assistant, a Conference Assistant, and an editorial assistant. So, at a conservative, off the top of my head estimate, I have filled out at least twelve job applications. For a more accurate count, I could probably add another twelve applications to that total to include jobs I applied for but didn't get.

Twenty-four job applications completed in twenty-three years of life, and most of those completed far before I even had a college degree. Many were filled out before I'd even taken the PSAT. Still, I can honestly say that I have listed a phone number for every reference. When asked, I have written out every single computer program in which I am well versed. I have included strengths and weaknesses galore. I could write my social security number in my goddamn sleep.

I stood in the middle of Mrs. Green's Natural Market not two days after finishing my finals and driving halfway across the country with all of my belongings and came up with six lines of decent prose about why I felt deeply about organic food, lines that I wrote into the proper box on my application while kids stuck their fingers in the bin of bulgar wheat and a hippie waxed poetic about the Deodorant RockTM.

So it is that I can understand Ms. Miers's uncomfortable position. Imagine her walking up to the Supreme Court bench, and, just like the rest of us, uncomfortably filling out her (fifty-seven page!) application in front of her potential employer while here potential colleagues sized her up. Who among us doesn't know the tension of standing in a bustling business and having to ask for another pen when the one the manager gave you ran out halfway through your former babysitting family's address? Now, imagine filling out that application while standing in pumps (sensible, of course, but pumps nonetheless) in front of the entire Supreme Court. Imagine how her hand must have cramped. Imagine how Ruth Bader-Ginsberg must have snickered at her eyeliner.

What? Filling out a Supreme Court Nominee Questionnaire isn't like applying to McDonald's? You don't have to do it right there in a booth covered in ketchup? She had, like, days and days to come up with answers? She got to use a computer, a computer probably connected to the internet, which means that even if she was stuck and couldn't come up with anything but a one-word, two-letter answer on her own she could at the very least plagiarize something off the freaking Drudge Report?

Oh.

Harriet, from one frequently employed woman to another, let me share with you a trick of the trade: even if you don't really care about the job, you're supposed to make them think that you do. See, I fucking hate homeopathic remedies, but I lied and wrote like four sentences about how much I love them and bam, I got the job! And I haven't even had, like, eight years of post-high school education!

"No" does not a justice make, Harr. I have been asked stupid things in job interviews, for crappo jobs nobody else would ever want to do. I've been asked whether I can lift fifty pounds. I answered. I've been asked how I became interested in the field of health informatics. I came up with something. You can't just say "no" if you want the job, not to a dude named Walter who listens to "Afternoon Delight" as he logs expired Ephedra, not to a tired HR guy who's quitting at the end of the week anyway, and most definitely not to a bunch of senators.

"No."

The only thing I can say for sure about Harriet Miers is that she's got a pair the size of grapefruits.

3 Comments:

Blogger DMo said...

My favorite part of that story is the headline:

"Court Nominee is Asked to Redo Reply to Questions"

Redo? Is this a backyard game of touch-football, or the highest court in the land?

(Incidentally, my favorite part of this blog entry may also be the title. You might be too clever for your own good.)

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would make a good Supreme Court justice, as I would have at least used the far more informative and interesting "FUCK no."

-Clare

6:47 PM  
Anonymous anonymousmom said...

Love the title, great post.

7:25 AM  

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