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GOP Leaders Had No Problems With Miers’ Judicial Inexperience

The process is young, but the loudest criticisms of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court have so far come from Republicans leaders wary that she’s never been a judge. Funny that the same inexperience didn’t seem to bother them in 2005 when President Bush nominated Harriet Miers — his personal lawyer and long-time confidant (but never a judge) — to sit on the High Court.

Chris Harris of Media Matters has a good wrap-up of the apparent contradiction.

Here, for example, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) questioning Kagan’s experience this week:

She’s the least qualified in terms of judicial experience in 38 years. Now some would argue that maybe we need to have people who don’t have judicial experience. I saw a survey indicating that about 70 percent of the American people think that judicial experience is a good idea for somebody who is going to be on the Supreme Court.

And here’s McConnell in 2005 showering praise on Miers:

Ms. Miers has an exemplary record of service to our country. She will bring to the Court a lifetime of experience in various levels of government, and at the highest levels of the legal profession. She is a woman of tremendous ability and very sound judgment.

In similar fashion, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) saw no problem whatsoever with Miers’ resume in 2005. In fact, he viewed her lack of bench experience as an asset:

One reason I felt so strongly about Harriet Miers’s qualifications is I thought she would fill some very important gaps in the Supreme Court. Because right now you have people who’ve been federal judges, circuit judges most of their lives, or academicians. And what you see is a lack of grounding in reality and common sense that I think would be very beneficial.

Five years later, not so much:

Ms. Kagan is likewise a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience. Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice.

Waiting to see how they spin their way out of their own recorded statements.

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