Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 23, 2005
LAW: Fried on Miers

My constitutional law professor weighs in on the Miers nomination, and unsurprisingly, his views and priorities are about the same as my own on the perils of a Justice who can't write:

A justice without the strength of mind to pick her way through these intricacies and the skill to explain her decisions in understandable and compelling prose suited to those intricacies will flounder in a number of ways that would be disastrous for the law. Such a justice might rely on instincts undisciplined by clear analysis and therefore over time spin a web of confusion which increasingly will entangle that justice, the justice's colleagues and a perplexed public. Or that justice might fall under the sway of one or more of his or her colleagues and so disappoint the expectation that a fresh and independent mind has been added to the court.

Worse still, if the justice cannot write then someone is going to have to do that writing for the justice, and that will inevitably be the justice's law clerks. Those law clerks almost to a person are wizards at untangling legal puzzles and masters at setting out the answers in precise if usually turgid and uncompelling prose. But they are also young graduates without wisdom, experience, or a constitutional mandate to help run the country.

Unfortunately over its history the Supreme Court has had its share of intellectually inadequate, wavering, incoherent, absurdly stubborn, or clerk-driven justices.

Via Instapundit. Read the whole thing.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:12 PM | Law 2005 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Well said. The real problem is the cult of ignorance that seems to permeate this country. You see it everywhere. The idea of chosing someone as a Supreme Court Justice who cannot write can only be attributed to someone who has no understanding that a lawyer (and I am not one, but my wife is) realizes every word counts --no not as something you charge when writing by the hour, but that every nuance has meaning in some way, and when a Supreme writes, those nuances translate into something that affects many undreds of millions of people.

That ignorance cult translates into many areas. By cult, I mean too many people who seem proud of thier ignorance. A new poll showing a large nubmer of people don't "agree with the theory of evolution." Sadly, that ignorance doesn't understand that "theory" in a scientific treatise is not simply an idea or opinion, and more than Theory of Relativity or Theory of Gravity is. Evolution works whether you believe it or not--that is what science is.

Ben Franklin, who many people seem to treat as a fairly sharp grandfatherly type, dealt with it as well. Among his many acheivments, Franklin (who was probably a genius on the Leonardo level-one of the Palace Magicians that Einstein, Newton and few others get to) was the well known invention of the lightning rod. What everyone forgets is how many clergymen damned that invention, claiming it impugned God's wrath. They also insisted those "devil rods" would never be put on church steeples. The real problem was those churches were used to hold all sorts of valuables, up to and including gunpowder. You can guess the results.

Ignorance in not realizing that history is important, that too many people, including many presidents thought history unimportant, stayed ignorant, and royally screwed up. Reagan was not one of them, and proved to be, as we know, a remarkable president; the current Bush is not; Reagan kept things simple, but was not ignorant, he simply distilled facts down to basic levels where it was easier to make a quick decision, something most excellent commanders do.

Admiral Spruance was like that; his alternate, Halsey was not. Halsey got better press, Spruance was a afar superior navval officer.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 24, 2005 12:50 PM
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