It is now time to call upon all members of the United States Senate to vote “nay” on President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court – if either Mr. Bush or Ms. Miers fails to withdraw her nomination before the Senate hearings begin.
What this long-experienced, able attorney and former president of both the Dallas and Texas Bar Associations did in 1989 – which has just been widely reported – is enough justification in itself to vote against her confirmation – if she has not been withdrawn.
What she did was the subject of my first question to presidential press secretary Scott McClellan on the afternoon of Oct. 18:
QUESTION: Scott, both the AP and the top of Page 1 of this morning’s New York Times report that in 1989, Harriet Miers pledged her support for a constitutional amendment outlawing all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Does the president share in this belief that all impregnated victims of gang rape and incest, no matter what their age, should be denied the mercy of an abortion?
McCLELLAN: Les, the president has made his views very clear when it comes to protecting the sanctity of life. The president is pro-life, and he is proudly –
QUESTION: Even gang rape and incest –
McCLELLAN: He is proudly so. The president is pro-life, with three exceptions, and that’s been his position all along.
I had to go on to another question. But after the briefing I was able to talk to Scott, who noted that the president’s three exceptions are in cases of threat to the mother’s life, rape and incest.
But, as I asked Scott, nominee Miers’ 1989 position, in her expressed support for that constitutional amendment, did not include any abortion rights for victims of rape or incest.
Which Mr. McClellan did not deny.
Ms. Miers undoubtedly has many abilities. But that she as an attorney would ever support a constitutional amendment that would deny to victims of gang rape and incest the mercy of abortion is more than enough reason for the U.S. Senate to vote against her confirmation, if her nomination is not immediately withdrawn.
The New York Times reported:
“The 1989 survey, which Ms. Miers filled out for the anti-abortion group Texans United for Life when she was a candidate for the Dallas City Council, constituted the clearest indication yet of her personal views on abortion. It did not ask whether she believed that the Constitution protected a right to abortion.
“‘If Congress passes a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit abortion except when it was necessary to prohibit the death of the mother, would you actively support its ratification by the Texas Legislature?’ the survey asked.
“Ms. Miers answered yes. She told the group she would support a state ban on abortion, oppose public financing for abortions, participate in ‘pro-life’ events and use her ‘influence as an elected official’ to ‘promote the pro-life cause.’
“The White House was quick to emphasize that Ms. Miers’ personal views should not be used to predict how she would rule on any case.
“‘The role of a judge is very different from the role of a candidate or a political officeholder,’ said Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman.
“‘Ms. Miers,’ Mr. McClellan said, ‘recognizes that personal views and ideology and religion have no role to play when it comes to making decisions on the bench.'”
That simply begs the question: If in 1989, Ms. Miers would promise to do all of these things in opposition to abortion – in cases of rape and incest – in order to get elected, why wouldn’t she do the same things in the lifetime job as a justice of our highest court?
And, does religion have no role on a justice’s mind when he or she writes decisions to be law of the land? Do we expect our justices to become irreligious when confirmed?