Pundits, Pols Split over Harriet Miers Nomination

The League’s gala 25th anniversary banquet Sunday was unanimously hailed as a great evening. Everyone seemed to have a good time with good company, good food, a good video, good music, a good talk and an upbeat spirit of ultimate victory. The winner of the free trip to Rome had just purchased the raffle ticket a few hours before the drawing.

The proceeds from this banquet will help keep the League in the battle, unabated.

The Split over Harriet Miers

The Chicago Sun-Times headlines the story on President George Bush’s nominee for the U. S. Supreme Court to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, the” Mystery Woman.” Harriet Miers’ stand on issues is tough to predict because she hasn’t been a judge, they say.

Nobody seems to know what to think about this White House council. We’ve have read everything we could get hold of, searched the internet, called in-the-know friends around the country, and we still come up with a big question mark ourselves, but are leaning toward thinking she might be ok.

However, Pat Buchanan, Operation Rescue, Steve Peroutka and many pro-life conservatives think she is too “iffy” to have any confidence that Bush has done the right thing. They call her a stealth candidate much like David Souter was.

Some plusses are the fact that as head of the Texas Bar Association she actively fought to persuade the national ABA not to take a pro-abortion position without first taking a vote. She said a pro-abortion stand has no meaning unless it is endorsed in fact by the membership. She wanted the ABA to remain neutral.

Some Early Support for Miers

Meanwhile, Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and justice says Bush showed exceptional judgment in naming Miers. Sekulow has worked with Miers and he enthusiastically endorses her. Concerned Women of America’s Jan LaRue says Bush has selected good nominees to the federal courts so far and that they give Miers the benefit of the doubt.

Douglas Kmiec of Peperdine College thinks Miers is what conservatives want whether they know it or not; a strict constructionist who follows the Constitution. He says she is the very sort of person who is needed in the high court: someone with a sense of accountability at the grass-roots level. She can assess the practical import of some of the court’s abstract handiwork.

Texas Supreme Court Judge Nathan Hecht thinks Miers is pro-life because of her long-standing membership in a conservative Christian church, the Valley View Christian Church in Dallas. Miers was raised Catholic. The church she now belongs to is anti-abortion and opposes gay marriage. Hecht believes that if she is a good evangelical Christian her view on abortion will be consistent with the teaching of her church.

Many Conservatives Suspicious

Yet a number of conservatives are highly suspicious of her. They point out that she once donated to Al Gore’s campaign. Others say she doesn’t have an experience with the courts since she has never served as a judge.

The abortion crowd is searching all her papers to find out where she would stand on abortion, some ready to reject her out of hand.

While the Chicago Sun-Times believes Meirs should be confirmed, quickly, the Chicago Tribune says this is an uninspired choice, in sharp contrast to John Roberts. They say Bush turned to cronyism and not to talent.

William Kristol is “disappointed, depressed and demoralized.”

Other observations: Illinois’ Dick Durbin says Bush has avoided an extremist, and has averted a crisis in the Senate. Chuck Schumer of NY says it could have been a lot worse. Sen. John Thune, Republican from SD, will reserve judgment until the Senate studies her qualification, while Illinois’ Barack Obama says she’s simply unknown, Ted Kennedy says the record so far is insufficient to assess her qualifications, and Senate Democrat leader Harry Reed is happy about the choice “without qualification.”

But the most rank put down of Harriet Miers we have read was a column by Geoffrey R Stone of the University of Chicago. His nasty commentary making her look like a dunce gives one reason to like Harriet Miers and to hope that she turns out to be the greatest Supreme Court Justices in the history of the world. It’s just nasty, nasty, nasty.

Share Tweet Email