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October 3, 2005

What will a Justice Harriet Miers mean for sentencing jurisprudence?

Getting this week off to a fast legal start, President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.  (Howard at How Appealing has lots of details and links.)  TalkLeft here and The Volokh Conspiracy here already have interesting comments.

Of course, as detailed in this post, I follow all the SCOTUS transitions with a keen eye on what new blood may mean for sentencing jurisprudence, especially because the absence of Justices Rehnquist and O'Connor has a profound impact on the SCOTUS sentencing head-count.  My sense is that Ms. Miers has no tangible track record on sentencing-related issues.  Similarly, in prior posts, I have suggested it would be valuable for the new nominee to have a criminal law background or experience as a trial judge, but I do not believe Ms. Miers' personal history includes either of these attributes.

Readers are highly encouraged to use the comments to provide information or reactions to this interesting (and already controversial) news.

UPDATE: SCOTUSblog is off and running with great commentary on the nomination, with Lyle Denniston astutely wondering "whether the American Bar Association will find Miers to be qualified for the Court," and Tom Goldstein boldly predicting "that she will be rejected by the Senate [and] Justice O'Connor will still be sitting on the Court on January 1, 2006." 

MORE: Larry Solum at Legal Theory Blog has this amazing quote from the Federalist Papers, while Eduardo Penalver speculates that this nomination is "a big fake-out to clear the path for a Gonzalez nomination."

SLIGHT(?) CORRECTION: Though the extent of her involvement is still to be determined, I have noted in this follow-up post that Harriet Miers may have had some experience with prisoner re-entry issues through her work with Exodus Ministries.

October 3, 2005 at 08:22 AM | Permalink

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» Bush taps counsel Harriet Miers for Supreme Court from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
President Bush on Monday nominated Harriet Miers, White House counsel and a loyal member of the his [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 11:07:10 AM

» Bloggers' First Thoughts on Meiers from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
by TChris Commentary on the presidents decision to elevate his White House Counsel to a Supreme Court seat begins to fill the web. Lyle Denniston argues that Harriet Meirs will have the burden of proving that she is qualified to... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 11:39:06 AM

» Bloggers' First Thoughts on Meiers from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
by TChris Commentary on the presidents decision to elevate his White House Counsel to a Supreme Court seat begins to fill the web. Lyle Denniston argues that Harriet Miers will have the burden of proving that she is qualified to... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 11:41:11 AM

» Bloggers' First Thoughts on Meiers from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
by TChris Commentary on the presidents decision to elevate his White House Counsel to a Supreme Court seat begins to fill the web. Lyle Denniston argues that Harriet Miers will have the burden of proving that she is qualified to... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 11:43:34 AM

» Bloggers' First Thoughts on Meiers from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
by TChris Commentary on the presidents decision to elevate his White House Counsel to a Supreme Court seat begins to fill the web. Lyle Denniston argues that Harriet Miers will have the burden of proving that she is qualified to... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 11:46:04 AM

» Bloggers' First Thoughts on Miers from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
by TChris Commentary on the presidents decision to elevate his White House Counsel to a Supreme Court seat begins to fill the web. Lyle Denniston argues that Harriet Miers will have the burden of proving that she is qualified to... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 11:56:36 AM

» Bloggers' First Thoughts on Miers from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
by TChris Commentary on the presidents decision to elevate his White House Counsel to a Supreme Court seat begins to fill the web. Lyle Denniston argues that Harriet Miers will have the burden of proving that she is qualified to... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 3, 2005 12:00:25 PM

Comments

Tom is wrong. Miers will have a cake walk through Congress. Republicans have little choice but to support her, Harry Reid has already basically endorsed her, and Bush has never backed down on a nominee.

An absence of criminal law experience may also be a good thing, especially for an attorney from Texas, not known for its outstanding criminal law jurisprudence. The fact that, at least, she comes to the issues with an open mind and experience in some kind of litigation, may be the best one can hope for in a nominee. Exodus involvement also indicates some awareness that most convicted criminals do leave prison some day, which is worth knowing on a court usually obsessed with the death penalty.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Oct 3, 2005 3:44:41 PM

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