What will happen in the confirmation hearings of Harriet Miers? While some pro-life groups applaud her for being pro-life and anti-gay, they hope, others denouncing her as not being clear on where she stands. Pro-aborts don’t know whether to accept her as another Sandra Day O’Connor or a stealth pro-lifer.
Sen. Trent Lott says better nominees were available and Sen. John Thune wasn’t impressed with Bush’s impassioned defense of Miers in the Rose Garden talk Tuesday.
The Divide over Miers
By now we’ve heard all the arguments: She’s no genius. She’s no Oliver Wendell Homes. She’s not even Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has no paper trail. She was never a judge. We don’t know how’d she vote on overturning Roe vs. Wade. She belongs to an anti-abortion church, and tried to keep abortion support out of the ABA. She gave money to Al Gore, and signed on to some gay rights legislation. In her younger years she was pro-abortion
Columnist Steve Chapman doesn’t like her, saying she’s less than mediocre, the weakest nominee in the last fifty years, and is unprepared to handle the formidable responsibilities of a Supreme Court justice. Chapman says, Bush has to be kidding.
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life supports her, while Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International opposes her. Jay Sekulow and James Dobson support Miers while Ann Coulter is strongly against her as not being qualified even to play a Supreme Court justice on The West Wing.
Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas is prepared to vote against her, but needs more information. Columnist Molly Ivins is sure Miers is “anti-choice” because of her membership in the Valley View Christian Church of Dallas. Sen. Dick Durbin says she is an enigma and bears the burden of proof to demonstrate her readiness to join the Supreme Courts. He says that if there’s nothing to work with, this is going to be a very difficult hearing.
Hispanics are disappointed that Bush did not pick an Hispanic, though a growing number of Hispanics support Bush anyway. Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation and Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum say they can’t support Miers at this point.
Bush Asking Too Much?
Meanwhile, White House Adviser Ed Gillespie says some of the unease about Miers is sexist and elitist. This appraisal didn’t set well with Miers’ critics. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, says the “David Souter” betrayal still haunts conservatives who were told to simply “trust me,” by Bush Senior.
Connie Mackey of the Family Research Council says: “We’ve been on the wrong side of the question mark with nominees like John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and Sandra Day O’Connor, and that now asking us to take another question mark in the person of Harriet Miers is asking us to take a lot.”
Lobbyist Richard Lesser says conservatives have waited twenty years to undo the damage done in 1987 to Judge Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, when conservatives paid a heavy price as
Buchanan Wants a Brawl
Democrats politicized the confirmation process. Now that sacrifice is meaningless.
Perhaps the strongest opposition to the Miers comes from Pat Buchanan. He wants a bench-clearing brawl. A fractious and sparring base would come together arm in arm to fight for something we all believe in: the beginning of the end of command-and-control liberalism on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senate Democrats, Buchanan says, would be forced to confront a serious and principled conservative of known stature, and would have damaged themselves in the fight. If in the end Bush lost, he’d lose while advancing a cause that is right, while doing serous damage to the Democrats. Then he could come back to win with the next nominee. And if he won that one, he would have really won, rousing his base and reminding them why they are Republicans.
But Bush hasn’t done that. He didn’t want to pick a fight with Congress. So he picked a fight with his base. But Buchanan says the Supreme Court isn’t the kind of fight you don’t have to fight. History picked it for him.
Who is right in this debate? In the next Action News Hotline, we’ll tell you what we think.