Monday, October 24, 2005

Judging Harriet

Methinks I hear the fat lady singing for Ms. Miers, and it's an ugly sound--a cross between a squawk, a whine, a groan, and a croak.

I don't believe we have any real way of knowing whether Ms. Miers is as competent and meritorious as Bush has alleged, or as incompetent and mediocre as nearly everyone else is saying. But I, for one, am willing to wait to actually hear the lady speak for herself before I make a final judgment (in other words, TTLB: I am neutral on the Miers nomination).

There's certainly much to criticize about this nomination--particularly, IMHO, Miers's closeness to the President (although the argument could also be made that this means he knows her likely judicial philosophy). But I've been surprised at how much of the recent criticism, especially in the blogosphere, has focused on her writing ability as demonstrated in her answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.

Now, I'm not able to give a learned discourse on just how grievously Miers may have erred in claiming that the Equal Protection clause has a proportional representation requirement (a little? a lot? not at all?), but I'm able to speak with more conviction about her writing ability.

First, there's spelling and grammar: I hadn't been aware until now that Ms. Miers was applying for a job as proofreader. I've done some editing here and there and, believe me, proofreading is a highly overrated (although extremely necessary) skill that doesn't say much one way or the other about intelligence and/or reasoning ability.

Those who state that committing a few typos and grammatical errors is a failure of precision and carefulness are quite correct. But it's a failure of precision and carefulness that's irrelevant and immaterial (to coin a legal phrase), and this heated criticism represents a repellent phenomenon I've never witnessed before and never care to witness again: a grammatical feeding frenzy.

Another criticism of Miers's responses is their brevity--in particular, her answer to the only substantive question, the final one, which deals with her views on judicial activism. For example, James Joyner of Outside the Beltway criticized its shortness.

I decided, just for fun, to compare the length of Ms. Miers's answer to that of John Roberts. As far as I know, I'm the first in the blogosphere to actually do this mindbogglingly difficult piece of research, which involves the arduous task of going to the PDF file of Miers's questionnaire and the PDF file of Roberts's questionnaire and actually counting the pages in each answer. Well, the font's a bit different, so it's hard to compare exactly, but Roberts's answer to the question appears to be shorter than that of Ms. Miers by a full page.

Do I care that it's shorter? Nope, I've never felt that length had much to do with evaluating the worth of a piece of writing. But if people are going to criticize Ms. Miers for not writing a long enough answer, how can they ignore the fact that hers is longer than Roberts's?

Then I read her answer. Not quickly, but slowly. And what did I find when I actually read it? I found it a bit dry, straightforward, relatively uninspired--but it seemed intelligent. Yes, you heard me right--it seemed intelligent (and, by the way, indicative of a constructionist approach, as far as I can see). Was it markedly erudite? Not especially. Was it eloquent? No. Was it clear and intelligible? Perfectly. Was it going to set the world on fire with the extremity of its brilliance? No.

And then I went back to that other questionnaire filled out by someone who actually had set the world on fire (metaphorically speaking, that is) with the extremity of his brilliance in his Senate hearings: John Roberts.

And what did I find? Is his answer to the same question well-written? It's competent enough. The style is more formal and conventionally academic than Ms. Miers's, a bit more ornate. Is it clear? Sure. Does he actually say anything much different than Ms. Miers's does? No. Does the answer demonstrate his genius? No. It was a decent response, nothing more (by the way, I'm not cutting and pasting any examples here because the files are in read-only format. So you'll have to take a look yourself: Miers's answer begins on page 55 of her questionnaire, and Roberts's begins on page 66 of his.)

In fact, I think Miers's essay has more content as well as length. I went through both essays writing down a summary of the major thoughts in each paragraph (I'll spare you a copy of that, dear readers). The Committee's judicial activism question isn't framed in a way that opens itself up to groundbreaking thinking, so you'll pardon me if I say that, IMHO, Roberts's answer wasn't all that different from a regurgitation of the first few days of an undergraduate ConLaw course (the phrase Joyner used to describe Miers's answer).

To those who have criticized Miers's answer so heavily, I'd love to see them compare and contrast it with Roberts's answer, and explain in what ways his is so clearly superior to hers. It's definitely possible that there are some legal niceties I'm missing here. But I haven't even seen a single attempt at a comparison. Why not?

It seems to me that the nature of the question itself, and the need to give an answer sufficiently vague as to not leave oneself open for criticism, dictate that any possible answer will be rather mediocre. In fact, I'd be surprised if the answer of any candidate so far has been especially wonderful .

Let me make it perfectly clear: I don't care. I don't care that Roberts's answer is pretty pedestrian, and rather short. I think he'll make an excellent justice, perhaps even a stellar one. But Ms. Miers's answer to this question--the only "substantive" one in the entire document--actually shows a bit more imagination than that of Roberts. She makes the interesting--to me, at least--point that she has experience in all three branches of government: judicial (in her clerkship to Judge Estes), legislative (in her position on the Dallas City Council), and executive (as President Bush's counsel)--and that therefore she has firsthand personal experience of how the three branches of government interact, and what roles each has in relation to the judiciary and to each other. It's a decent point, and it's an argument from experience.

Oh, and I found a couple of punctuation errors in Mr. Roberts's questionnaire: a comma or two that I see as problems, and one improper use of the dash. And no doubt someone looking at this post of mine can find a couple of similar mistakes too, even though I've tried to proofread it carefully. Do you really care? I don't--although, of course, I'd prefer all these documents to be absolutely perfect.

I don't mean to say that Ms. Miers is smarter or would be a better justice than Mr. Roberts; there's no indication that that's true. I also believe she's far from the best nominee possible for the position. But can we not wait to hear how she thinks and reasons during her Senate hearings? We learned a great deal about Mr. Roberts this way. What's the all-fired hurry to condemn her? Surely there will be enough time to do this after her hearings, if she is indeed the fool so many say she is.

Oh, and another thing. Please read "Remote Control" by Stuart Taylor, Jr., a piece that appeared in the September 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. It's an eloquent plea for appointing a justice with real-world rather than just ivory-tower or academic experience (suggesting, specifically, a person who "has argued big-time commercial lawsuits"). One can almost hear it as a plea for a justice like Ms. Miers, although author Taylor now says he doesn't support her for the job.

Mr. Taylor recently wrote that the closeness of Ms. Miers's relationship to the President, and her position as his advocate, is especially troubling:

Might she shy away from casting votes that could cause Bush political embarrassment? Or even ask herself, "What would the president want me to do?"... A few presidential cronies have, of course, turned out to be notable justices. They include Robert Jackson, Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter, all appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt. But each of them had been a legal or political giant of independent stature – as attorney general, U.S. senator, and Harvard Law School dean [sic: he was a professor at HLS], respectively – before taking the bench.

Good point. It's the closeness of her relationship with the President coupled with her lack of extraordinary independent stature that should give one pause.

But to give pause is not to reject outright. It seems that Taylor is with me; he's still willing to give Ms. Miers a final chance to prove herself:

The Senate should reject any Supreme Court nominee – especially one close to the president – who has not proven herself to have extraordinary ability and independence of judgment unskewed by loyalty. The woman who once called Bush the most brilliant man she had ever met has not met this burden of proof during her first 60 years. Unless she can do so in the next few weeks, she should be treated with respect, praised for her character and accomplishments, and voted down.

Ms. Miers needs to show her independence and keen intelligence in the hearings. If so, she should be approved; if not, rejected.

And lastly, while waiting to hear what she has to say and how she acquits herself, you might want to read this Washington Post profile of Miers, written before the feeding frenzy really got going.


At 1:10 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Pastorius said...

Neo, I am also neutral on Miers nomination. However, her writing is a fault in a lawyer. She shows a lack of ability for detail and precision. That's my humble opinion.

At 2:12 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger SC&A said...

Agreed- let's see how she handles the comittee.

That said, the WAPO piece gives her a lot of credibility.

At 3:57 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

I read [at powerline I believe] that her answer in proportional representation was correct in its context of local Dallas politics. Which, if true, makes the critics the idiots. A word people like to use to describe a woman who is said to be one the best lawyers in the country.

I think this is the kind of mistake people are making with Miers...they take something out of context and then blow it out of all sense of proportion.

I am not that interested in her writing. This the Supreme Court we are talking about, not the Writers Guild.

I will say that I have lost a lot of respect for conservative pundits over this. There are blogs I no longer go to and when Kristol and Krauthammer come on I just mute the TV.

The savaging of this woman has set a precedent that some of these people may come to regret when someone who is a member of their special little club gets nominated.

Thanks to their complete lack of fairness and total disregard for public decorum pretty much anything is acceptable now.

I also think that the idea that a president can be forced to withdraw a nominee because of a bunch of loud mouths nobody even voted for is outrageous.

It could well be that they just destroyed the chances of a solid conservative getting on the bench.

I say let her speak.

At 5:07 PM, October 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations are in order.
The Republicans have given us DeLay, Rove, Libby and Miers. We can marvel at the sideshows: Will and Krauthammer in rage, Judith Miller in flight.
Why, it is almost a nostalgia trip back to the Grand Old Party's days of Nixomania, with Agnew, Ehrlichman, Halderman, Mitchell and Dean.
Washington-watching is fun again.
And for that, I suppose, we should be grateful.

At 5:53 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger roman said...

"her lack of extraordinary independent stature"
Is it maybe a little early to make this pronouncement? Even if this is the case, would'nt just ordinary independent stature fit the bill?
As far as her "closeness" to the president being a disqualifying factor, I disagree wholeheartedly.
The intimation is that Bush will continue to have influential control over Ms Miers when she is a SCJ. Her JOB to date has been as an employee of the president. As an employee, she is required to follow rules set down by her employer. Once confirmed as a SCJ, her status of employee (and all obligations that the term implies) will vanish and her only allegiance will be to her own sense of jurisprudence. I'm nuetral.

At 7:16 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger terrye said...


How childish.

And the Democrats are perfect?

Sandy Berger and his pants and of course we can not even go into the dozens of people investigated or indicted during the Clinton years.

And then of course we have the liar Wilson who may or may not have managed to run a sting on the White House, but who most certainly did lie, not once but many times. 48 pages of the 511 pages the Senate Intelligence Committee put together on intelligence failures was dedicated to exposing Wilson as a fraud. That is some whistleblower.

And of course there is the slam dunk Tenet, Gore's old buddy and the man who swore to Bush that the CIA knew what it was doing.

If Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson are the kind of people the CIA relies on, it is no small wonder they screwed up so bad.

Republicans may not be perfect but the opposition are not a bunch of angels either.

They just think they are.

At 8:16 PM, October 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrats would have their own scandals, greed, and stupidities. When it comes to serious governance and public service, I see maybe 5 cents worth of difference.But you jumped and immediately took what I wrote as anti-Republican. But it was about the absence of some measure of gravity and decency in the high levels of our government for the past twenty-five or so years, regardless of which party was in power.
Time, as Orwell said, to look unpleasant things in the face? Naw, not when there's reality TV and the NFL.A nation of sheep? I never would have thought so in 1952 or even in the turbulent Sixties. But now?

At 10:47 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Promethea said...

The pile-on against Miers reminds me of why I despised Republicans during the 1990s. They seemed to run as a pack of yelping dogs against various Clinton appointees to government.

OK, I'm no longer a Democrat and have been open to new ideas about Republicans and their thoughts. On this issue, however, I am not at all impressed with their cleverness and wisdom. Without going into trivial details of history, I am sure that I could find quite a few examples of Presidents choosing their friends and colleagues for the post of Supreme Court Justice. Suddenly the bar is raised so high for Ms. Miers. Is she really this incompetent that she's being borked by her own "people."

I sincerely doubt it. Although several have claimed that this is not a question of sex discrimination, I have my doubts. All the trappings are there, including absurd reasons used against her that are not used against the typical male appointee.

Sorry, folks, if Wade v. Roe or lack thereof represents the great underpinings of our civilization. I don't think it is--one way or the other. I also think affirmative action should bite the dust, but it's clear that that's an issue that can still be fought through the regular judicial system.

The level of vetting of this woman is absurd. She's a victim of the pack mentality. I hope she wins just because she's been so maligned.

At 11:56 PM, October 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m with Promethea:

The level of vetting of this woman is absurd. She's a victim of the pack mentality. I hope she wins just because she's been so maligned.

“Vetting” is not the word for what the right’s doing to one of their own. The conservatives have been subconsciously unhappy with Bush & Miers is their excuse to openly slam him. Miers doesn’t fit the definition of cronyism but they’ll still hurl the canard. The ideologues aren’t certain she’ll ditch Roe versus Wade & the elitists are miffed that she’s didn’t take her degree at Harvard or Princeton. Bush is a Centrist & therefore not pure enough & the right’s anxiety about that has been building up for some time.

It’s a little off the subject but what I find hilarious is the conservative’s rage directed toward Bush for the deficit. Last I heard Congress controlled the purse strings but all those Republicans have been diving headfirst into the pork barrel for the several years they have been in control of that frequently ridiculous body & lo & behold we have a deficit! Senator Stevens will have his bridge to nowhere. He was so hurt that someone would want to stop his pork he threatened to resign the Senate. They pretended to believe him, the hypocrites.

I know very little about Miers but I do know how her opposition is acting & that makes me very sympathetic to her.

At 6:09 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

My spelling and grammar are so atrocious that I would be held in contempt of Congress. I second what Promethia said. Don't clerks do some proof reading?

At 6:13 AM, October 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neo we all know what happens to "neutrals". Say it ain't so ! :)

At 6:15 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger terrye said...


Nation of sheep my behind.

If anyone in the administrations broke the law, indict them...but if Wilson and Plame are what pass in terms of people working for the CIA then it is no small wonder the agency got caught with its pants down when a bunch of terrorists flew planes into buildings.

In other words, this whole thing is stupid.

This is the third time this woman has been "outed".

When exactly is she out? At what point is she and her urbane jaguar driving husband out of the picture?

At 7:16 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger SteveR said...

>>As far as I know, I'm the first in the blogosphere to actually do this mindbogglingly difficult piece of research<<

Great thinking, as always, Neo! (sarcasm on)I'm surprised the NYT didn't think of this (sarcasm off)

Since this set of comments has spun off a Valerie Plame thread, here's a thread for that story that nobody has yet pulled...

Why didn't journalists, or pajamahadin, for that matter, interview Valerie's neighbors, asking the simple question, "were you aware prior to July 2003 that Mrs. Wilson worked at the CIA?" I mean, it just isn't that hard of a thing to do. Come to think of it, since anyone can go back through the WAPO society pages and find social events that the Wilsons attended from, say 2000 to 20003, it would be easy to identify others in their social circle and ask the same question.

If, in fact, it was found that "everyone knew" in this manner, the "Leak" would seem to not be a leak at all. If not, then maybe there is something to investigate.

Seems as if MSM or the Blogosphere could have saved the taxpayers a lot of money.

Is it too late? I would say not - this is still a key questions that has never been authoritatively answered, except via ipse dixit emanating from one side or the other of the debate.

Well, I'm just a *photo*-blogger, but what about it, polito-bloggers?? Who's gonna be the first to check out some reverse phone directories and pick up the phone???

Best regards,

At 7:42 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger SteveR said...

Wow - I just read the PDF of Ms. Miers questionaire responses. They seem perfectly adequate to this citizen.

I would like to propose that we each send something like the following questionaire to both Senators Specter and Lehy:

Dear Senator,

In the interested of ascertaining your ability to convey to the American public your qualifications for sitting as [Chair/Ranking Minority Member] of the Judiciary Committe, it is important that you fill out the following questionaire:

1. Please state the purpose of the questionaire which you required to be filled out by recent Supreme Court nominees. Your answer should include detailed responses to the following questions:

a. What aspects of your Committee's work does this questionaire address that could not be better served by the confirmation hearings themselves?

b. Why are you asking questions for which, if you are truly concerned about completeness of the record, your staff is surely competent to research more thoroughly?

b.(1) In light of (b), above, please justify, in detail, the duties and responsibilities of each member of the judiciary staff and provide a detailed justification demonstrating the need for each such staff member.

c. Please explain in terms intelligible to those Outside the Beltway under what circumstances, and how, a simple, one-word answer to a straightforward question could be percieved as either "insufficient" or "insulting."

Important Note: Please limit your answers to *specific* responses to the above questions. Answers that include extraneous verbiage such as "... the Senate owes is to the American people..." or "...nobody gets a pass..." will automatically be disqualified. Two such disqualifications will require renedering an "inadequate/insulting" grade for the entire questionaire.

Thank you for your cooperation in this important civic endevor.

Stephen Rosenbach

At 7:52 AM, October 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


1. Why not read up a little on Wilson's background?
2. What's bothering you--that he's "urbane" and "jaguar-driving?" Why? No, he's not pretending to be Texas-folks on the farm. So?
3. These recurring bouts of indictments (from the record number under Reagan until today)are
-fun to watch
-hiding a bigger picture of the power of big money and the history of how it has made our "governmental process" into a game of Family Feud.
-Both parties play the game.

After each flurry and a couple of indictments, editorial writers proclaim that "the system works."
As you put it so eloquently--"my behind."
Yours for better government--as they used to say.

At 11:05 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Promethea: Well-put about the quality of the pile-on against Miers! A pack mentality is exactly what's going on here with some of them.

I have no problems with people raising valid objections, and there are plenty possible. What I see, though, is what I can only refer to as a feeding frenzy of picayune irrelevancies mixed in with valid objections and then hammered home with a viciousness that's offensive and uncalled-for, and using standards that have not been applied to any other nominee. And there's no need for it--unless you call the need of the pundits to show us how very clever and tough they are a need.

It's also a feeding frenzy because, as in a real feeding frenzy, the sharks end up hurting each other and themselves. But they don't see that, because they are maddened and excited by the smell of blood in the water.

At 7:44 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger terrye said...


If you do not know by now that Wilson is a fraud there is no point in talking to you. This is not debatable.

Kerry dumped him from his campaign after the Senate got through with him.

You know I remember the 1998 when Clinton passed the Iraqi Liberation Act and said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and guranteed us he would use them. Richard Clarke was judith Miller's source back then. The Times and WaPo were writing articles on Saddam and his weapons and his human rights abuses. When Clinton left office the WaPo wrote an oped about how he was dumping Saddam and his weapons on Bush.

Nobody doubted it. Now all that has gone down the memory hole along with Democrats who are trying to cover their asses for a decade's worth of mistakes.

I think the CIA screwed up and Wilson was part of a scam.

If someone in the Bush administration did something they should not have, indict them. That does not change the fact that Wilson is a liar and the CIA screwed up.

At 8:39 PM, October 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


As someone who lives and has traveled in Democratic circles all my life here in Washington D.C., I'll just say you are all wet. It may seem pathetic and sad to you and perhaps others, but this Administration is by far the most honest and staight shooting in my lifetime, save perhaps the highly imcompetent Carter.

Also, don't let the fact that Republicans are more self policing and accountable to not only themselves, but they also carry the burden of a one sided prejudiced MSM that is an even more corrupt and evil pack of leftist hounds with blood filled eyes and blood soaked hands.

Also, don't kid yourself as to what stink really festers in the Democratic Party, the Republicans are, even if it is a sad fact, angels by comparison.

Lastly, the implication that both parties play the game to the same degrees is off by miles, their is no comparison. Keep saying it if it makes you feel better, proving the other guy is also bad has always been the Democrats means of attempting to save themselves, let this former Clinton friend and lifelong Democrat say... THAT IS FOLLY! If the Republicans weren't more ethical and responsible they would have been out years ago (if it were on issues alone). The MSM and Democrats unwittingly play into this sterotype by holding Republicans to higher standards, it does send the reverse message about Democrats...


BINGO ON EVERYTHING! I am sickened by the presumtions and outcome based denigrations going on all for the sake of what? Bush was elected president not the pundits, they have hurt themselves and others unecessarily, but the arrogant putz's will never fully admit to their arrogant follies, they are to arrogant and full of themselves. It would serve them right to get another Souter, (but hey I am a moderate). While I am no longer a Democrat, I now can't see me ever becoming a "movement conservative" as they have worn their asses on their shoulders during this and shown an ugly side I won't soon forget. But I will repeat, this is nothing compared for the contempt I hold for the left.


I've been reading much lately, not much time to comment these days, but I will say that who have easily moved into my two or three blog "must reads".

Yes this has been a shark frenzy indeed and as I said on another blog, Bush has taken enough arrows in the back for this nation, he certainly doesn't deserve them from his friends.

Keep up the great work!

Terrye, keep posting!

At 10:58 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger SteveR said...

Hey Neo - maybe the FBI is reading your blog? even the comments section: Late Tuesday evening I read this Reuters dispatch:

"With charges expected as early as Wednesday, federal officials investigating the exposure of CIA operative Valerie Plame conducted last-minute interviews with her neighbors ... lawyers said on Tuesday.

Marc Lefkowitz, who lives across the street from Plame, told Reuters two FBI agents asked him on Monday if he knew about Plame's CIA work before her identity was leaked to the press in 2003. Lefkowitz said he told them: "I didn't know." "

So even the FBI didn't ask the neighbors until yesterday??

Now the next, even simpler question is: Prior to July 2003, did or did not Ms. Plame drive daily to her job at CIA in Langley, where anyone at all could stand at the intersection of the public road and the CIA access road and observe who regularly goes in and out?

If she somehow was spirited into the CIA HQ each day, perhaps hidden under a blanket or whatever, then there might have been a leak.

If she drove herself (or carpooled) everyday just like the rest of us normal people, no Leak. That is, if anyone can see you go enter the CIA access road on a regular basis, anyone can figure out that you work for CIA, no?

At 11:40 PM, October 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph Samuel Friedman:

1.Take a look sometime at the list of Reagan administration officials indicted. Still #1.

2.But what is really striking about your post is the language:

"...even more corrupt and evil pack of leftist hounds with blood filled eyes and blood soaked hands."

I hope you'll get better soon.

At 3:59 AM, October 26, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Neo, fine post. I'm leaning IN FAVOR of Harriet, because I think she'll vote more in favor of somebody else's opinion.
She'll concur.

What the SC needs is more concurrence, less "brilliant nuance", it needs fewer separate opinions, not more.

As an NT (Myers-Briggs), who knows lots of NFs (like you?), there is a LOT of intellectual elitism behind the criticisms.

I do think there are more brilliant judges Bush could have chosen -- but I don't think the SC needs another brilliant judge. I'm sure there are more clearly anti-Roe candidates, and my biggest hesitation is that Miers would be pro-Roe.

I would prefer more an honest Roe as litmus test, with the Dems trying to fillibuster and the Reps ending their power to stop a judicial nomination from getting voted on. But the Reps of the Gang of 14 don't seem willing, much less eager, to fight and win a Bork type battle.

I think that, besides conservative anger at Bush's / Rep excessive spending, there is also anger that Bush is failing to do good Public Relations. I know the media is an enemy, so he should treat it as such; and try harder to get good messages out. Through bloggers, local newspapers, better Press Releases. I don't know how.

Your own "blood-smelling shark attack" comment is also right on; many pundits are more interested in being witty/ snarky than in getting Roe overturned, given the present elected politicians.

I'd like such pundits to be more anti-Pork (PorkBusters!) against specific politicians, but it's easier to just focus all the anti-energy against one Pres. than against 85 (or 41 Reps) Senators who want to keep their pork.

This is a reason the Pope will always get more credit/ blame for Christianity, too -- focus on the top person rather than the much larger group.

At 7:08 AM, October 26, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cute anecdote in yesterday's New Yorker: Harriet's Summer of Love!
It doesn't add anything with respect to the nomination but it paints a portrait of two summer associates working for Melvin Belli in San Francisco in 1969.

I hope Harriet makes it.

At 2:39 AM, October 27, 2005, Blogger Matthew said...

Nothing against John Roberts, but I think Harriet Miers may very well turn out to be a better justice than he.

Provided all the high-profile conservative opposition doesn't sink her nomination, of course.


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