Hear those cheers? Me neither

bomb dudAWell, everyone in town is reading tea leaves and watching for sparks. Over on the Religious Right, that sound you hear is everyone grinding their teeth and trying, trying not to say out loud: Harriet Miers is single? Isn’t Justice David Souter single? She is highly dedicated to her mother? Wasn’t Souter said to be highly dedicated to his mother? Still, some mainstream evangelicals are holding the fort — like Chuck Colson. Ditto for Jay Sekulow and Co.

So many conservatives are not happy. You can follow many of the reactions today on the right over at National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog. David Frum is ticked. We are beginning to hear more and more conservatives using a very nasty word — crony. This is now coming from the right as often as from the left.

Some say she is very soft and will float with the Beltway tide to the left. Some say she is pro-life and others have doubts. So Miers is a very conservative Catholic? Says who? She donated money to U.S. Sen. Al Gore? Huh?

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan says:

Think of her as a very capable indentured servant of the Bush family. She’ll do what they want. She’ll be a very, very tough nut to crack in the hearings. And I have no idea about her judicial philosophy. But I imagine that’s the point. When I described her as a flunky last July, a source close to Bush told me: “Don’t mess with Harriet.” I think they’ve found someone whose personal loyalty to Bush exceeds even Gonzales’. And in some ways, I see this very personal, very crony appointment to be a response to being told he couldn’t pick his main man, Alberto. Harriet is his main woman. I reserve judgment on her fitness to serve on the court.

Sen. Bill Frist has a stunningly strange lead on his comments (see this and many other reactions at The Washington Post‘s court blog), suggesting as some have said that Miers is what some say she is — a person the Democrats had pledged not to slime. Or perhaps it is that she is not on the list of women or minorities the Democrats had promised to slime or something like that. Can’t you feel the enthusiasm in this Frist sentence?

This morning, after a bipartisan and inclusive consultation process, President Bush nominated Harriet Miers as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Much more to come, I am sure. Meanwhile, watch this space.

UPDATED: Once again, the blogs are the place to be today. Over at the influential conservative magazine World, editor Marvin “compassionate conservative” Olasky is running a series of short pieces on Miers that includes some interesting original reporting hours out in front of the MSM pack.

Three cheers for this new information. His readers are very divided. You should give it a look. It also seems that she was raised Roman Catholic (can’t find a clear affirmation on that), and Olasky says she now is part of the Valley View Christian Church. If you study the site, this appears to be an independent Christian congregation from the center or right of the Independent Christian Churches. I know that crowd pretty well, since I taught for six years at Milligan College. This crowd can be anything from left of center Protestant to mainstream evangelical. It is very non-creedal and it strictly avoids stands on social issues, unless the all-powerful local congregation chooses to do otherwise.

A key source for Olasky’s info is Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, who has served as an elder in this church. It seems that he, like Miers, never married and they have dated in the past. Yes, friends, expect questions at the hearings about all of this — somehow.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • SEV

    what kind of chuch avoids stands on social issues? “be kind to your neighbor, or not.” “Feed the hungry, or don’t.” Very nice.

  • Stephen A.

    What is the sound of no hands clapping?

    But it’s not Zen in this case, it’s politics – Conservative politics. Folks on the Right who seem to know this woman don’t care for her much. We’ll see how this turns out. Being a contributor to Gore and the DNC in 1988 doesn’t help.

    At first glance, it appears that Bush, in the second term of an ever more desperate and possibily failed presidency, has punted again in order to win over Democrats in the Senate. That’s been rewarded in the past with a kick in the teeth as thanks.

    And yeah, that church sounds great. They appear to be a Christian version of Unitarian Universalism, in which nothing historically deemed essential need *really* be believed.

    To be fair though, not arguing over non-essential doctrines makes a great deal of sense.

  • ceemac

    As a Dallas resident I am not surprised that she is a church member.

    What is surprising and perhaps revealing about her character is the fact she does not belong to one of the elite or power churches here. It’s not located in Highland Park or Preston Hollow. Nor is it 1st or Prestonwood Baptist. Or Northwest Bible. Or Christ Episcopal in Plano. Or any of the new megachurches.

    If confirmed would this make her the 1st justice who is a Campbellite?

  • AlyD

    what kind of chuch avoids stands on social issues? “be kind to your neighbor, or not.” “Feed the hungry, or don’t.” Very nice.

    And yeah, that church sounds great. They appear to be a Christian version of Unitarian Universalism, in which nothing historically deemed essential need *really* be believed.

    Kindly refrain from knocking a church tradition you obviously know nothing about. Independents are just that, independent. Which means there is no CHURCH to take social stands. However, most congregations take the whole “doing unto others”, “I was hungry and you fed me” thing pretty seriously.
    Far from Unitarian, where belief in the great whatever is acceptable, the uniting thread for Independents are statements like “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible.” Barton W. Stone and Alexaner Campbell, as well as others, started a movement, over 200 years ago, of Christians who didn’t want take any other name but Christ’s. No Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian (which the Campbell’s were), Lutherans. You get the idea.
    This is a very theologically minded group, we just don’t do high church or hierarchies.

  • Libertine

    Tmatt, what’s this about conservative concerns about Miers’ single status? I’ve been rounding some of the heavyweight conservative blogs (Corner, Malkin, etc.) and haven’t heard anything about it. Will this be something that journalists take a look at, or was your comment intended to be off the cuff?

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  • http://megquinn.blogspot.com/ Meg Q

    Yeah, ditto on “conservative concerns about Miers’ single status”. People are talking lots about Miss Miers, but not about her personal life, her momma, or anything.

  • http://molly.douthett.net molly

    Condi is single.

  • imthird

    Heard last night on radio talk from someone supposedly ‘in the know’ that Miss Miers WAS at some point a member of a Unitarian church in Dallas, most likely prior to her membership @ VVC.
    Also heard from a lawyer co-worker (afraid to divulge specific information from fear for his own job) about non-working hours spent in conversation with Miers. Bottom line is that she and Ann Richards and another (name escapes me) woman were ’3 peas in a pod’ for years, with Miers always going along with (read: encouraging) Richards on her liberal social views. Same person (on radio talk) stated Miers knew where she wanted to go and would take whatever ladder it took to get there. We need to be in heavy prayer about this nomination, that it’s GOD’s will that is done, not lib’s or conservatives.
    One last parting shot on homeschooling: We chose to have the greatest impact on our children’s lives in ALL areas (social, intellectual, and spiritual, etc.) by teaching them at home instead of ‘farming them out and hoping for the best’. The life skills, education, and love for each other that we can give them far outstrip ANYTHING they could possibly hope to get at a public indoctrination center — sorry, SCHOOL :) — and outstrip even MOST private schools. You just can’t beat our 3:1 student to teacher ratio in a traditional classroom setting.
    running out of breath… :)