As strange as it may seem, the most resistance to President Bush’s choice for the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers, is coming from Republican senators, not Democrats.
Both former Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., have expressed serious reservations about Miers, whom Bush nominated as an associate justice Monday.
Lott told NBC News his first impression of Miers was not positive.
“I need to know a lot more about her, her experience and her level of competence and what is her philosophy,” he said. “I really don’t know this lady and I do think I owe it to my constituents and to my own conscience to do due diligence and find out actually who this person is.”
As of today, Lott said, he’s not comfortable with the nomination.
“I don’t just automatically salute or take a deep bow anytime a nominee is sent up,” he said. “I have to find out who these people are, and right now, I’m not satisfied with what I know. I’m not comfortable with the nomination, so we’ll just have to work through the process in due time.”
Lott told NBC while Miers may be qualified, she is “clearly” not the most qualified person for the job.
“There are a lot more people – men, women and minorities – that are more qualified in my opinion by their experience than she is,” he said.
Miers, the current White House counsel, has been criticized for not having had prior judicial experience and for the fact she is one of Bush’s inner-circle staff members.
Brownback said he’s worried Miers may be another David Souter – someone put on the court as a conservative but who turned out to rule like a liberal.
“There’s precious little to go on and a deep concern that this would be a Souter-type candidate,” Brownback told the Associated Press.
“The circumstances seem to be very similar. Not much track record, people vouching for her, yet indications of a different thought pattern earlier in life” – a reference to donations to Democrats in the 1980s Miers made and positions she took as a city council candidate and leader with the American Bar Association.
The Kansas senator mentioned Bush’s repeated promises to appoint justices similar in philosophy to Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
“I am hopeful that Ms. Miers will be, as President Bush promised, a qualified nominee in the mold of (conservative) Justices Scalia and Thomas who will strictly interpret the law and will not create law,” Brownback told Reuters.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will first take up her nomination, announced that he intends to vote for her.
“A lot of my fellow conservatives are concerned, but they don’t know her as I do. She is going to basically do what the president thinks she should, and that is to be a strict constructionist,” he is quoted as saying.
As WorldNetDaily reported, before the ink was dry on the nomination conservative groups weighed in on Miers – some supporting, some opposing and others taking a “wait and see” approach.
One activist opposed to Miers is Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly. She told CBS News that the nomination is a “tragic disappointment” and a “huge mistake.” Schlafly said, “Bush blew it. Miers is a female Souter, a childless appointee and a blank slate.”