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Its Time To Give Up The Ghost

by @ 10:51 pm on October 26, 2005. Filed under Harriet Miers, Supreme Court

Thursday’s Washington Post has this report about the issues Harriet Miers is likely to face when she appears before the Judiciary Committee

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee warned Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers yesterday that he intends during confirmation hearings to probe her views of the Bush administration’s detention of suspected terrorists in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making clear he remains uncertain of her command of complex constitutional issues.

This is significant for several reasons, not the least of them being that Miers is believed to have been heavily involved in the crafting of the administrations position on the treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo and “enemy combatants” in the War on Terror. Her role in crafting these policies is certainly a legitmate question for the Judiciary Committee to examine. Additionally, it is beyond doubt that cases involving these detentions will come before the Supreme Court. Given Miers’ involvement in the creation of these policies, many legal commentators have made the persuasive argument that she would need to recuse herself from any cases involving the policies she helped to draft.

Meanwhile, as the nomination comes under pressure from the left in the person of Arlen Specter, it continues to be subject to doubt on the right.

At least two conservative groups, which had taken a neutral position on Miers, called on her to withdraw yesterday, after The Washington Post published decade-old speeches. In one such speech, to a Dallas women’s group in 1993, Miers said that “self-determination,” not government, should guide the outcome of issues such as abortion and school prayer when law and religious beliefs collide in court. Those statements differed from the opinion Miers had expressed four years earlier when, as a candidate for the Dallas City Council, she told an anti-abortion group that she would support a constitutional amendment to ban the procedure, except to save a woman’s life.

“Self determination” ? On some level that sounds appealing to a libertarian such as myself but after having seen excerpts from the speech elsewhere on the web, it is so disjointed that I honestly can’t figure out what it is that Miers is talking about. If anything, the inconsistency between this speech and her earlier professed views on Roe v. wade only make me more troubled.

In 1993, while she was president of the Texas Bar, Miers gave a speech titled “Women and Courage” during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In the speech, Miers praised both the nominee’s courage and her selection by President Bill Clinton.

If this isn’t an indication of where Miers heart actually lies, I don’t know what is.

In another speech slightly earlier, titled “Women and the Law,” Miers said she hoped that “before too long,” the United States would have women as president and vice president. Referring to then-Gov. Ann Richards, a Democrat, Miers said, “You can hear, if you are listening, speculation that our Texas governor is destined to remove one or both of those positions from the list of ‘never before held by a woman.’ ” Richards lost her 1994 reelection bid to Republican George W. Bush.

I’m not sure what to make of this. It isn’t an explicit endorsement of Richards, but it may be an indication of Miers’ philosophy at the time. What does she believe now ? Nobody knows — and that is precisely the problem.

Meanwhile, it seems that Harriet Miers has missed her deadline to update her response to the Judiciary Committee’s questionaire. Whether this is an indication of anything else unclear. (H/T: Michelle Malkin)

Previous Posts:

Meirs: Answering The Questions
The Final Nail In The Coffin
The Difference Between Courage And Stupidity
It’s Time For This Nightmare To End
The Miers Nomination And Religion
Why Harriet ? Part II
Trusting W
Still More on Miers
Oppose Harriet Miers ? You’re Sexist
More On Miers
Solving The Miers Puzzle
Publius v. Harriet Miers
Why Harriet ?
Harriet Who ?

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