With Conservatives Split, It’s All Up to Miers Now

My hope in the last Action News Hotline was that by Monday I would give my opinion of the Harriet Miers nomination for the Supreme Court. By reading everything I could get hold of, and from what I could glean from TV news and talk programs, I thought I would be able to solve the dilemma the nomination has caused among conservatives.

Miers Too Hard To Read

But the truth is that too much information and too many opinions have only rendered the situation more confusing even than it was on Friday. Besides reading a score of articles, eidotorials and commentaries, I watched interviews with William Kristol, Gary Bauer, Ann Coulter, Patrich Buchanan and others who protest the nomination, as well as many who applaud Miers.

But some who oppose her are even suggesting that she voluntarily step down, or that President Bush remove her name from consideration. We doubt if either will happen.

Most likely Miers will appear before the Senate committee and will be sent to the full Senate. We predict that following a stiff scrutiny from both conservatives and libertals, she will be confirmed by a substantial majority.

But what we do know is that pro-abortion Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday that he will watch closely to surmise whether any “deal” has been made between Miers and the White House to assure a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Noting that a Supreme Court Justice has a lifetime tenure, Specter said:

If there are backroom assurances and if there are backroom deals and if there is something which bears upon a preconditon as to how a nominee is going to vote, I think that’s a matter that ought to be known.

He and Charlie Schumer are considering making James Dobson, Focus on the Family founder, testify at Miers’ confirmation hearings to see if any such deals have been made. If such is the case, they will vote against her.

Many conservatives are depending on Miers’ strong evangelical beliefs, her Catholic background and her legal training to recognize that the twin abominations, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, must be reversed when a case appears that would make reversal possible. Even pro-abortion columnist Charles Krauthammer refers to Roe as an egregious example of the exercise of raw superlegislative power, and the court’s most intellectually bankrupt ruling.

At this time in the confirmation process all is conjecture, and we make no solid predictions. Will Harriet Miers turn out to be a stealth candidate like Souter or Kennedy or O’Connor? Will she in time be accepted by elite conservatives like Buchanan, Coulter, Kristal, and Bauer? Will the Liberals accept her despite mixed reports on her stand on Roe? Will the rift among conservatives be resolved? If the displeasure with the selection of Miers is as deep as it appears, will she be rejected? Will she withdraw from the nomination?

One thing is cerain: This will be an interesting and educational confirmation battle, and while I do predict confirmation, it’s now up to Harriet Miers.

Of Monks and Judges

Phil Ponce of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight has a most unusual comentary in Monday’s Chicago Tribune entitled “Of Monks and Judges,” refering to the oft used phrase in refering to this nomination, looking outside the “judicial monastery.” The phrase conjure up images of judges as “cloistered, out-of-touch, insular and holier than thou,” he says. “But monks may have it all over judges.”

As a Former Benedictine monk, I found his comments intriguing. Point of fact:

Monasteries involve the eternal. They underscore the larger mystery of creation itself. These men have taken a step back from the world but may be imbued with tremendous power to affect it—power generated by prayer and contemplation. The collective prayer emanating from Thomas Merton’s Kentucky monastery could very well be the spiritual engine that supports the entire country, the world being saved by just and watchful monks. Is the real weapon against Osama bin Laden monklike sanctity? Monks always know where to take their case. Makes you think.

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