Herman I. May

Herman I. May


04 October 2005

Miers in Controversy

W has selected his nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the choice seems to have taken many by surprise. Harriet Miers has been a staple in the Bush Administration since his first gubernatorial bid. She has held many different positions, but has never been a judge. Many people find this to be a serious issue.

Individuals from both the "right" and the "left" are expressing mixed feelings over his pick. Historically, this has served as the hallmark of the perfect nominee. An individual who completely satisfies neither side in a politcal equation usually signifies an objective arbiter. At the same time, there is also equity in the spectrum of voices who see Miers as a good choice — precisely because of her lack of judicial experience.

With his pick of Miers, W has continued a trend that serves as the only redeeming element of his administration: the selection of apparently non-partisan, objective Supreme Court nominees. The application of this analysis to the Miers nomination has yet to be proven. However, the Roberts hearings revealed him to be one who is a fierce advocate for his clients and a so-called "strict constitutionalist" when it comes to interpretation of the law. One can only hope that, given his insistence that he "knows her mind", Bush has chosen an equally objective judicial nominee with Miers. If the preliminary buzz is any indication, she should prove to be a Justice "in the mold of" O'Connor and Kennedy.

From the other perspective, a seriously disconcerting position has manifest itself from the "right". Several conservative talking-heads have come out over the last day or so to voice their disapproval of W's choice. For many of these individuals, it is not Miers' unproven record which concerns them. Instead, it is a record of her commitment to strive to overturn Roe v. Wade. In fact, though largely unspoken, one comes away with the impression that this worry pretty much constitutes their whole agenda and the primary reason they voted for Bush 43 in the first place. The implication being that, while they feign support of the social, economic and war policies of the current administration, they could really care less about them and their long-term consequences. Their only concern and the reason they supported the original and subsequent election of George Walker Bush to the Whitehouse in 2000 and 2004 was to pack the High Court with ultra-conservative Justices. With Scalia and Thomas already in place, they have hung their hopes on the prospect that W will have the legacy of adding at least two conservative swing votes to the bench. They rightly realize that the policies of any given Executive can be altered as a result of policy and legislation passed in a future administration. However, an appointment to the Supreme Court will likely last for several decades and cannot be undone until death or retirement.

This is a very serious revelation and I, for one, hope that the Senate Judicial Review Committee and the full Senate tale this egregious stance into consideration when it comes time to vote for Miers. We, as a country, do not want ideological voices on the Supreme Court. Many were initially concerned that W would attempt to pack the court with conservative ideologues in the guise of so-called "strict-constitutionalists". However, he has proven — at least with Roberts — that he can, in fact, do the right thing by nominating a balanced, impartial arbiter. Such a person is immune from partisan politicism and personal belief, because they take the moral and objective middle path by interpreting that "law is reason, free from passion".

I have but one misgiving about the Miers nomination: that being she is an Evangelical Christian. Individuals of this ilk are predominately made up of the irrational, the illogical and the righteous. Most interpret the Bible literally and, as a result, whether overt or cloistered, are, in fact, ideologues. That said, Miers' record as both a lawyer and a former member of the Dallas City Council show her to be rational, contemplative and objective in her analysis and decision making. One can only hope that affiliation with Bush over the last fifteen years has let to personal cultivation of that philosophy and not corruption of it.

02 October 2005

myView: "Serenity"

Few are the instances where I consider a film worth the time and effort to view on the Silver Screen. This pleasure is usually reserved for productions of exceptional quality or those which would lose something if shown on a thirty-six inch CRT. The crew of the Firefly class vessel, Serenity, fall into this category.

One is always tentative at the thought of a small screen production which makes its way to the big screen. Memorable failures from this genre in the past have included the FBI duo of Mulder and Scully as well as, for the most part, the crew of the Constitution class starship, Enterprise. I was a bit dubious that Reynolds and crew could survive the jump, but was willing to invest hope they could. My return was better than expected.

As a short-lived Fox series, Firefly attracted a following to rival that of both X-Files and Star Trek — and in only an eleven week run. The reasons were manifold, but primarily rested upon the exceptional writing and unorthodox story. The film continues this novelty with and engaging story and sympathetic characters. Two plots are skillfully woven together in an effort to resolve a pair of the most compelling mysteries remaining from the television series: What happened to River Tam and who are the Reevers? The former is not fully resolved, but one comes away with a greater appreciation of her experience. As for the etiology of the Reevers, as with all failures of social engineering, the lesson is as compelling as the history.

In another departure from standard, Hollywood storytelling, we lament the deaths of two favorites among the crew. Ordinarily, this might give one reason to suppose an end to the franchise. However, the epic nature of the Firefly/Serenity — not to mention the hooks provided for future extensions — provide ample fodder for the hope of future installments.

There are a few shortcomings, though. The first takes place in the opening scenes where the editing process leaves one with the erroneous perception that Simon rescued River from The Alliance with the help of the crew of Serenity. Another is a basic flaw in judgement on the part of Malcolm Reynolds with respect to his dealings with his primary antagonist. During their first encounter, Malcolm shoots the assassin only to discover he is wearing body armor. when they meet again, later in the film, instead of delivering a fatal head shot, he delivers a shot to the torso which results in another prolonged fisticuffs battle. Of course, had this been avoided, the length of the film would have been five minutes shorter. ;-)


continue to the September 2005 archive

HIM envelope
last BBEdited: 2005.10.07