Here is the latest update on the feelings about the nomination.
GOP, Democrats Conflicted Over Miers
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
2 hours ago
WASHINGTON - President Bush’s decision to make White House counsel Harriet Miers his second Supreme Court nominee is causing some strange friction on Capitol Hill, with some Republicans unsure about her conservative credentials and some Democrats seemingly supporting her.
The mixed signals create some uncertainty about how Miers will be received in the Senate as the Judiciary Committee prepares for another round of confirmation hearings before the end of the year.
Bush portrayed Miers, who never has been a judge, as a strict constructionist, someone who “will strictly interpret our Constitution and laws.”
“She will not legislate from the bench,” the president said as the 60-year-old former private attorney stood with him in the Oval Office.
“If confirmed, I recognize that I will have a tremendous responsibility to keep our judicial system strong and to help ensure that the courts meet their obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution,” said Miers, who has worked on previous judicial nominations with many of the same senators who now will judge her candidacy.
She immediately began visiting senators in the Capitol, meeting with Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, all of whom had words of praise for her.
In a round of television interviews Tuesday, White House counselor Dan Bartlett sought to reassure conservatives who have expressed concern that Miers might not be conservative enough for their tastes because she had no strong record on hot-button issues like abortion and gay rights.
“She shares President Bush’s judicial outlook and that is that justices shouldn’t be creating law from the bench, they should be strictly interpret the Constitution,” Bartlett said on CBS’ “The Early Show.”
Bartlett said that Bush had not asked Miers her views on issues like abortion or gay rights. “President Bush thinks it’s very important not to impose a litmus test on judicial candidates,” Bartlett said on NBC’s “Today” show.
With Miers’ selection, Bush was looking to satisfy conservatives who helped confirm Chief Justice John Roberts _ without inflaming Democrats who repeatedly warned against the selection of an extreme conservative to succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who has voted to uphold abortion rights and preserve affirmative action.
It seems he has done both, somewhat. Quite a few GOP senators praised Miers, just as they praised Roberts when his nomination was announced by the president.
“My conversations with Harriet Miers indicate that she is a first-rate lawyer and a fine person,” said conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a former prosecutor whose nomination to the federal court was stalled by Democrats.
Added Specter, R-Pa., an abortion-rights moderate, “Everything I know about Ms. Miers is good.”
Democrats said Miers, with no judicial record, will need to answer more questions than Roberts did during his confirmation hearing. Most of her paperwork from her White House days will not be available to the Senate because it falls under executive privilege or lawyer-client privilege.
“If there ever was a time when the hearings are going to make a huge difference, it’s now,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
At the same time, the White House worked aggressively Monday to allay concerns over Miers among conservatives determined to turn the court to the right.
Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh repeatedly challenged Vice President Dick Cheney on why Bush chose Miers over other nominees whose conservative credentials were more clearly based on long records as judges. But by day’s end the White House trumpeted favorable comments from Focus on the Family chairman James Dobson, among other prominent conservatives.
Kyleen Wright, president of an anti-abortion group then known as Texans United for Life, said in an interview that Miers donated $150 to the organization as a “bronze patron” for its annual dinner in 1989.
Frist is pushing to have Miers confirmed by Thanksgiving, a compressed schedule. “She has demonstrated her leadership, her character, her integrity,” said Frist, R-Tenn., who harbors presidential aspirations in 2008.
But some of the more conservative GOP senators are being reserved when it comes to Miers’ nomination.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., an anti-abortion senator who is also considered to be a 2008 presidential candidate, pointedly declined comment on Miers. And Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, one of the conservatives newly elected to the Senate in 2004, said he was reserving judgment.
“It has been my expectation that President Bush would nominate someone in the mold of Justices (Antonin) Scalia and (Clarence) Thomas and it is my hope that Harriet Miers will prove to be such a person,” he said. Both Scalia and Thomas have voted to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
I discovered the secret of the Democrats getting their way in this political climate. They should simply agree and/or endorse wholeheartedly policies and nominees that the GOP brings up and the GOP will automatically have issues with their own decisions. “If the Dems are all in favor, something must be wrong with it. Go against it!” Its like the “Rabbit Season/Duck Season” skit from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.