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Oct. 7, 2005
On the Nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court 
As we recall the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush, what comes to mind is the constant drumbeat within the ranks of pro-life, pro-family conservative Republicans who make up the base of the Republican Party that those elections were “all about the judges.” If there were criticisms of George Bush, they were to be set aside—ignored—because his election was crucial to the eventual re-structuring of the out-of-control third branch of government. Millions of loyal Republican voters believed that if George Bush became President, Roe v. Wade would be overturned because he would place individuals on the Court who would vote to do that.

Bush, the candidate, talked about “building a culture of life.” He employed the useful line, “every child welcomed in life and protected in law.” He said that among members of the Supreme Court he “liked” Justices Scalia and Thomas, a comment that was translated by ardent pro-life supporters into a “promise” that he would select individuals like those two men as his nominees to the highest court in the land.

The opportunity to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor should have resulted in a nominee who is to life what Ruth Bader Ginsburg is to abortion. Instead President Bush has selected Harriet Miers, his personal attorney whom he has elevated to key positions in his administration. Ms. Miers appears to have no background in constitutional law except for what she studied in law school. She lacks a written and spoken record that can be examined and analyzed for its relevance to social, cultural, economic and other important national concerns. President Bush has picked his personal attorney, a corporate trial lawyer, whose record on the things that matter to us is virtually blank.

We are told that she is a “born again” Christian, as if that qualifies her to sit on the Supreme Court.

We are told that she has been the friend and companion of pro-life Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht for 20 years, as if that qualifies her for the position simply by association.

We are told that Harriet Miers is “pro-life” because in 1989, 16 years ago, as a newly-elected member of the Dallas City Council (she served one term) she purchased one $150 ticket to a Texans United for Life annual dinner where she, along with dozens of other politicians, was introduced to the activist crowd of voting citizens. Since that time, there has been absolutely no evidence of any connection between Harriet Miers and the right-to-life cause.

We are told that she has said she believes life begins at conception, as if that is supposed to set our minds at ease. Consider the fact that President Bush says he believes life begins at conception, yet he justifies abortion for babies conceived through rape or incest and does not support overturning Roe v. Wade. Even pro-abortion Senator John Kerry admits that life begins at conception, but like Sarah Weddington, the pro-abortion attorney in the Roe v. Wade case, he considers that fact irrelevant since babies in the womb have no rights.

What we need to know about Harriet Miers is whether or not she believes that the life that begins at conception is deserving of respect and protection under the law! Because of the exceptions he holds, President Bush does not meet that test. Because he justifies abortion for some babies, it follows that he does not support overturning Roe or making abortion illegal, so why would he elevate to the Supreme Court a person who represents a threat to Roe?

When Harriet Miers was offered this position, it was reportedly done at a private dinner in the White House with only the President and First Lady present. Afterward, Laura Bush expressed her pleasure at the nomination. Laura Bush has publicly stated that she does not want Roe v. Wade overturned. As long as she is happy at the thought of Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court for lifetime appointment, we should, at the very least, be skeptical.

Two days ago, at a meeting in Washington where 100 conservative leaders were present, most of them disillusioned and angry, White House advisor and former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie tried to sell this nomination by urging “trust” of the President’s judgment. The group, comprised of movement conservatives who think for themselves and make decisions by informing themselves thoroughly, and studying the issues. When it comes to a lifetime appointment of a Justice to the Supreme Court who will make decisions that will affect the lives of our children and grandchildren, “trust” alone is not good enough for them. Everyone makes mistakes, but when a President makes them the consequences can be serious and lasting. That is why, with a few notable exceptions, the majority of pro-life conservative leaders didn’t buy what Mr. Gillespie was selling. Most are either not supporting Harriet Miers’ nomination, or they are withholding judgment until the Judiciary Committee hearings bring about some clarification of her views.

For a long time, criticisms of many aspects of President Bush’s policies have been simmering beneath the surface among conservatives. Concerns range from the continuing lack of proper border security, to the profligate spending by the Republican controlled Congress, to uncontrolled illegal immigration, to the continuing erosion of our national sovereignty, to the current $3 per-gallon price of gasoline, among others. The nomination of Harriet Miers has brought the simmer to a boil and now the pot, full of frustrations and unfulfilled expectations, has boiled over.

Unless Harriet Miers reveals through her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she will be a counterpoint to pro-abortion, ultra-liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this nomination could very well have negative implications for the Republican Party in the 2006 election cycle. Once a pot boils over, it’s impossible to restore its contents.

The Republican National Platform calls for the “appointment of judges who respect the sanctity of innocent human life.” Respect for the sanctity of innocent human life means far more than simply upholding state laws banning the partial-birth abortion procedure and other efforts to restrict or regulate the practice of abortion. It means having a deeply held conviction that legal protection of the right to life to unborn babies must be restored. It means recognizing the inherent worth of the human embryo. It means acknowledging that subjecting the tiniest of humans to deadly medical experiments is a violation of fundamental human rights. It means understanding our country’s founding principle that the right to life is the first right from which all others flow.


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