In Federalist Paper # 76, Alexander Hamilton (writing as “Publius”) discusses the Senate confirmation process and how it serves as a check on unrestrained presidential power. In doing so, he explains:
To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? [ . . . ] It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. [ . . . ] He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure. [emphasis added]
Unfortunately, President Bush has shown that he feels no shame when doing the most blatantly self-indulgent and ill-advised things. But Hamilton and the other framers saw forward to the kind of corrupt leadership that could arise and wrote decisively some 217 years ago that Bush should “be both ashamed and afraid” to nominate his unqualified former personal lawyer to the highest court in the land. And any Senators who vote for her should be similarly ashamed.
Nothing against her personally… I’m sure she’s a nice lady and she may even be a competent corporate lawyer. But the court needs constitutional scholars, not people who are, in Hamilton’s words, “personally allied to” the president, who lack the personal experience and gravitas necessary to prevent them from becoming “the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.”