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James Dobson

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.


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