I always get a little giddy when a new Supreme Court nominee is being chosen. I know. I said it. Giddy. I’m curious who is going to get picked, where he or she is from and why that person — above all the other immensely qualified candidates — is receiving the nod.
The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor is no exception. The national discussion is not as loud as it could be considering that Congress and the President share the same party, but there is still some interesting fodder out there.
As an example, I read a piece today on Salon that discussed Manuel Miranda, the former aide to Bill Frist, who is organizing some conservative opposition to the nomination. In fact, the New York Times reports that the conservative group has even signed a letter calling on Senate Republicans to filibuster the nomination. A copy of the letter was obtained by The New York Times.
But what caught my eye is that Miranda is the same person who, according to Salon, spent most of 2005 “insisting that Senate Republicans had to force through rule changes that would make it impossible to filibuster judicial nominees.” Looking at his website, he acknowledges that in 2005, he formed the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters.
And — Miranda is a lawyer. Which got me thinking about positional or issue conflicts, which arise when a lawyer’s position in one case could be detrimental to the position taken in another case. The potential harm to clients is real — but what I find interesting, in both Miranda’s situation and positional conflicts in general, is the effect that this has on lawyer credibility.
Seems to me the quesiton that arises is: how much stock can be put in a lawyer who changes his position on substantive issues with the flip of a coin — or more appropriately, with the change in political winds?Leave a Comment »