Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Judicial Philosophy of the Hon. Harriet Miers

Harriet Miers' judicial philosophy is plain. When introduced by the President, she said she is in favor of strict construction of the law. The meaning of "strict construction" is plain. Isn't it?

Well, perhaps not.

Let's see if we can clarify her position. Let's apply Miers' interpretive strategy to "strict construction." Isn't that fair?

The first step is to take the words "strict" and "construction" as written (or spoken?).

The second step is (isn't it?) to take words in their ordinary sense -- their common sense sense, so to speak.

Well, then, the third step is clear: If judges are to avoid putting themselves into the words of the law -- and they are to follow the words of their law rather than their personal and subjective views of the meanings of those words --, they should turn to dictionaries and thesauruses (thesauri?) to ascertain the ordinary meaning of words. Right?

Well, then, let's use that method now.

[I leaf through my thesaurus.]

Can "strict" mean "harsh" and "construction," "fabrication"? So Miers favors harsh fabrication of the law? Mmm, I don't want to use her private intentions to construe her words, but, still, this -- "harsh fabrication" -- doesn't sound quite right.

[I leaf through my thesaurus again.]

Aha! I have it! By "construction" she means "interpretation" and by "strict," she means "crabbed." So Miers favors a crabbed interpretation of the law. A strict construction of her comments proves this.


While blogging here, I just heard President Bush say (in a news conference) that Miers shares his judicial philosophy. I confess I didn't realize that Bush has a judicial philosophy. Is it originalism? Does he favor the Court's use of the evolving standards of civilized nations to interpret the Constitution? Is Bush in favor of a natural law approach to the Bill of Rights? Well, time will tell, more or less. Yes? No?

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