POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Only Her Hairdresser Knows for Sure

by David Trumbull

October 21, 2005

My kind friends at the Jens-n-Frens blog recently posted a link to where conservatives can sign a petition in support of President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. Surely, there is nothing more important for conservatives who are troubled by this activist court than to support the President's choice of Miers. That is unless of course you don't support the choice of Miers, in which case Jens-n-Frens has a link to where conservatives can sign a petition in opposition to President Bush's nomination of Harriet Meirs to the U.S. Supreme Court.

From this we draw five lessons. First it appears that conservatives are a cranky lot who can't even agree among themselves, quarrelsome persons for whom nothing and no one is ever quite ideologically pure enough. As I a conservative I resent those charges. These are narrow-minded ad hominen arguments of the worst sort -- true ones. Conservatives do constantly argue among ourselves. And we do place fidelity to principles above the mere winning of the next election. The good, and sometimes surprising, news is that voters recognize and reward such constancy.

Second, it illustrates Dave Barry's dictum: "The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment." (Number four of 25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years.)

Three, it points to some of the obvious problems with the current senate confirmation process, and four and five.

Really it's lesson one that points to the vast gulf fixed between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives ask: "Will this appointee judge in conformity with the provisions of Sections One and Two of Article Three of the U.S. Constitution, with the explication of the office of Supreme Court as set forth in Federalist Papers 78-83, and in the spirit of Anglo-American law going back to Magna Carta?" Liberals ask, "Will she vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?" I put it to you dear readers, which question do you believe is more likely to help us in knowing whether Harriet Miers will be a good Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in all the range of cases she will hear?

NOTE: Dave Barry's "25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years" appears in his book David Barry Turns 50 which is available in libraries and bookshops are online at

David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee; he may be contacted at (617) 742-6881 or Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.