Professor Stephen BaskervilleViolence Against the ConstitutionSat Oct 8, 2005 07:0184.108.40.206
October 8, 2005
Conservatives & Doctor Assisted Suicide
by Bill Sizemore
Violence Against the Constitution
by Professor Stephen Baskerville
Where is Jefferson's Spirit of Resistance?
by Pastor Chuck Baldwin
A Story of Two Redemptions?
by Paul Proctor
Conservatives Divided on Miers - Is a 'Heart' Issue
by Sharon Hughes
Democrats to force Dobson to testify?
Senator wants to know if he's hiding Miers' pro-life views
Posted: October 8, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee might subpoena James Dobson during the confirmation hearings for Harriet Miers to probe the family advocate about "confidential" information he has about the Supreme Court nominee, a Capitol Hill source says.
Dobson recently said his endorsement of Miers was founded on "confidential" information he was "privy to" but "not at liberty to talk about," according to the political weblog Ankle Biting Pundits.
Although not a Judiciary Committee member, Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., has taken up the cause, pitching the idea to top Democratic staffers on the panel.
"It seems to me, all of the [information] the White House knows about Harriet Miers should be made available to the Senate and the American people," Salazar said. "If they're making information available to Dr. Dobson – whom I respect and disagree with from time to time – I believe that information should be shared equally with a U.S. senator."
Citing "insiders," the weblog says Salazar believes Dobson should be called before the panel to answer what he knows about Miers, when he knew it and who provided him with the information.
The unspoken suspicion is that someone in the Bush administration – presumably presidential adviser Karl Rove – told Dobson that Miers is pro-life and has pledged to vote against Roe v. Wade should she be confirmed, the weblog says.
Some of Salazar's colleagues, however, including Minority Leader Harry Reid, believe calling Dobson before the committee as a hostile witness would be seen as a disastrous public relations stunt that would further alienate the Democrat Party from Christian conservatives.
"We're not going to conduct an Inquisition," one top Hill staffer told the weblog. "Salazar's idea is half-baked."
But another Hill staffer said Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Judiciary Committee member, likes the idea and is trying to craft it as a "separation of powers" issue rather than a religious issue.
It might work, Kennedy believes, if Democrats can make it an issue of President Bush withholding information.
Should Dr. Dobson be subpoenaed to tell what he knows about Miers?
In 1999, then-Governor Bush gave SMU $250000 to fund the Laura Bush Promenade,
... Harriet Miers was named assistant to the president and staff secretary. ...
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Conservative activists quick to criticize Miers
By MARY DEIBEL
October 2, 2005
President Bush once praised his personal attorney Harriet Miers as "a pit bull in size-6 shoes." Now he lauds her as a lawyer who "devoted her life to the rule of law and the cause of justice" in making her the third woman ever named to the Supreme Court.
Miers introduced herself to the nation Monday with a promise "to be true to the Founders' vision of the proper role of the courts in our society."
Bush presented Miers not as a longtime Texas friend. Instead, he called her "a pioneer in the field of law" who was "the first woman to be hired at one of Dallas' top law firms, the first woman to become president of that firm, the first woman to lead a large law firm in the state of Texas ... the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association and the first woman elected president of the state bar."
To most Americans, however, Bush has chosen a complete unknown to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, the justice in the middle of a closely divided court on abortion, affirmative action, civil rights, religion and capital punishment.
The 60-year-old Miers is known for keeping a low profile as Bush White House counsel and, before that, deputy chief of staff and staff secretary - all jobs in which anonymity is a virtue, especially when she was vetting replacements for two Supreme Court vacancies this summer.
But Miers is anonymous no more - even to conservative groups who made Bush judicial selections top priority. Many warned they would tolerate no more "stealth" candidates like David Souter, the less-than-conservative justice whose limited record flew under the radar when the elder President Bush named him to the high court in 1990.
Bush's surprise choice of Miers quickly provoked conservative reservations - and opposition:
- "While pro-life groups were frustrated with the lack of information about the abortion stand of Bush's first Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, even less is known about Harriet Miers," said Troy Newman, head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue that will oppose her appointment.
- GOP activist Manuel Miranda, who founded Third Branch Conference to lobby for Bush judicial confirmations, said Bush had "made possibly the most unqualified choice since Abe Fortas," Lyndon Johnson's lawyer before Johnson named Fortas to the Supreme Court in 1965.
- Roger Pilon, a senior Reagan Justice Department official who heads the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Rights, said, "There is very little in Harriet Miers' background to suggest that she is the best person President Bush could have nominated."
But Leonard Leo, on leave as executive director of the conservative Federalist Society to work as an outside White House adviser on Supreme Court selections, hailed Miers as "a brilliant pick" and "an individual who is devoted to the Constitution as written by the Framers."
Leo praised her for opposing the American Bar Association's 1992 endorsement of abortion rights. Miers waged an "unsuccessful but courageous" fight, he said, trying to stop the ABA from presuming to speak for its members on politically charged issues. (Miers' own views of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, weren't cited in news coverage of the ABA fight.)
Liberal interest groups took a wait-and-see approach to Miers and her slim record on legal issues. Nan Aron, head of the umbrella Alliance for Justice, summed up the feelings of many, saying, "The president clearly has some idea what Ms. Miers thinks. It is now incumbent upon the Senate to obtain the information needed to let the American people know what the president does."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said after an hour's meeting with Miers that he is "not aware she's taken positions" including abortion.
Whether the Senate or public learns much about Miers during confirmation proceedings will depend on Bush's willingness to release documents detailing her White House work. With Roberts' selection as chief justice, the White House cited attorney-client privilege in refusing to release his working papers during the senior Bush's presidency. But the administration turned over memoranda from Roberts' days as a young Reagan administration lawyer.
Miers is a Bush confidante whose detail-oriented discipline and personal loyalty - highly valued in this White House - prompted the president to bring her to Washington in 2001 even though she has lived her entire life in Dallas.
Harriet Ellan Miers was born there Aug. 10, 1945, one of five children of real estate executive Harris Miers and his wife Sally.
Harriet Miers attended Dallas public schools, Southern Methodist University and its law school and worked for the Dallas law firm of Locke Purnell Rain Harrell, where she represented Microsoft, Republic National Bank and other commercial clients. She became president of Locke Purnell and co-manager of the merged firm of Locke Liddell & Sapp in 1996.
She also served a two-year term on the Dallas City Council.
She and George W. and Laura Bush, another SMU alum, traveled in the same Texas social and political circles, but Bush got to know Miers firsthand when he hired her for some real estate work in the early '90s. After that, she served as counsel to his successful 1994 Texas gubernatorial campaign and head of the Texas Lottery Commission in 1995 when it was mired in scandal.
Having profited from her penchant for legal details, Bush introduced her at a 1996 Dallas charity dinner as "a pit bull in size-6 shoes." He also praised her skill at cross-examination, saying, "She can fillet better than Mrs. Paul," the queen of frozen fish.
Miers' reputation as a thorough "honest broker" with a bent for long hours and detail work preceded her in Washington, where she worked first as White House staff secretary, the vetter of every policy, person and piece of paper to reach a president's desk.
"People understand winning or losing. What they don't understand is that they didn't have a fair hearing," Miers told Texas Lawyer magazine in a 2003 interview.
Laura Bush and Justices O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg urged that a woman be appointed to the Supreme Court - but "not any woman," as Ginsburg said in a speech last week.
Miers, who never married, remains close to her family, including her 93-year-old mother, Sally, who interceded with SMU officials to keep her daughter in school when Harris Miers suffered a disabling stroke in 1964 that led to his death.
On Monday, Harriet Miers gave special thanks "to my mom for your faith, your strength, your courage, your love and beauty of spirit."
(Contact Mary Deibel at DeibelM(at)shns.com)
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