By Keith D. Cummings
The good Miss Miers is gone, having bowed out from the confirmation process as graciously as possible under the circumstances. It's the scenario presented by Charles Krauthammer earlier this month. Miers wants to protect the independence of the Executive Branch and realizes that she can't answer the Senate's questions without compromising the same. It's valid, it's honest and it saves face for both the ill-fated nominee and a strong-willed President.
As much as I would like to think that my pieces on this humble site over the last few weeks (see here and here) I know I had very little to do with it. Harriet Miers, as nice, intelligent and competent and attorney she may be, was simply not the right person for the President to nominate. Accusations of sexism and elitism aside, the Miers nomination should teach the President a something.
When the way was open for John Roberts to become the nation's 17th Chief Justice, I thought that the administration made a huge mistake. The White House decided it needed to appoint a woman to fill this woman's seat on the court. As the nomination went south, the White accused conservative opponents of elitism and sexism. Conservatives claim that they were upset, not that Miers was a woman, but that Miers only apparent qualification was that she is a woman.
I admit, I was one of those closed minded conservatives. I made the mistake of thinking that merit was the most important consideration when appointing people to the high court. Laura and George convinced me I was wrong, representation is key. If the only available woman is Harriet Miers, then by God Harriet Miers should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court. My only question is this: does Miers fit the demographics?
Since the White House and Democrats prize equal representation on the court above all else, we have a yeoman's task of reshaping the Supreme Court. First, we need to get rid of at least three justices (they're men and half of the nation are women.) Clarence Thomas, who represents the black population, is 11 per cent of the court. However, according to the 2000 census, blacks make up 12.3 per cent of the population. We need a justice who is 14 per cent black. That justice should also be 34 per cent Asian, 29 per cent white and 23 per cent "all others." Imagine trying to trace that geneology.
Three of the four new justices (I recommend that we replace Kennedy, Stevens and Souter) need to be women. They can be white women; that's acceptable. With Justice Ginsburg, Roberts, Scalia and Breyer, these will be the 7 requisite white justices on the court. The difficult thing would be getting one who is half man / half women to ensure the gender-equal make-up of the court. Perhaps the 14 per cent black justice mentioned above could be a woman. Right now, black men are overrepresented on the high court.
One of the justices should be bi-sexual, although leaning more toward heterosexual than homosexual. Giving the benefit of the doubt to gays in America (they claim that 10 per cent of the population is gay or bisexual), this justice should spend approximately 45 per cent of his / her time pursuing sex with the same gender and the remaining 55 per cent pursuing sex with the opposite gender.
Religion is also important. John Roberts is Roman Catholic. There are an estimated 70 million Roman Catholics in the United States. One fourth of Americans are Catholic; we need another 1.2 Catholic justices. Only 1.3 per cent are Jewish and 14 per cent are atheist, agnostic or non-religious. Assuming that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is willing to fill all three of these roles, we're one-third of a justice short of satisfying this demand.
Of the 285 million Americans, a full 13.8 per cent are non-English speakers. Yet, American elitists have thus far prevented the 1.25 Non-English speaking seats on the court from being properly filled. There isn't a single Latino justice, but Latinos are entitled to 1.125 seats on the high court.
There are 1 million lawyers in America, 1 million! Lawyers make up four-tenths of one-percent of the population of the United States, and yet they hold ALL nine seats on the high court. Wal-Mart employs nearly twice as many people, yet not a single Wal-Mart associate has been considered for the highest court in the land. There are no doctors or nurses, auto mechanics or piano tuners on the court either. Where's the equality? Where's the fairness? Where's the equal representation?
An Associate Justice on the Supreme court makes nearly $200,000 a year. However, the median income for a family of 2 in DC is only $54,000. We need to change the pay scale, ensuring that some of these justices make more (to represent the rich in America) but most make at or below the median salary, so that the poor and middle class are properly represented.
The White House has bowed to the Democrats like Harry Reid and Teddy Kennedy that O'Connor be replaced with someone who represents the "diversity" of thought and opinion in America. In 2004, 121,068,715 cast ballots for the Republican and Democratic candidates for President. 51.2 per cent voted for Bush. The courts should, therefore, have 4.6 Republican justices and 4.4 Democrat justices. If Reid and Kennedy want fair representation, then the court should lean right, not left.
Conservatives didn't oppose Miers because she was a woman, or because she attended SMU. They opposed her because she wasn't the most qualified. Quotas get a mish-mash of people who may or may not be qualified for their positions. That's not to say that someone hired under a quota system can't be highly qualified and a prized member of any team. Clarence Thomas probably got picked for the court because he was a black conservative. He's an excellent justice, but his blackness has nothing to do with that. There are plenty of qualified conservative jurists in the country today. Let's hope the President's only quota is appointing the best among us.
Keith D. Cummings is an author and columnists. His novel, Opening Bell is a political thriller set in the near future. He can be found at his home on the web: www.keith-cummings.com.
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