With conservatives denouncing the President’s choice of Harriett Miers for the Supreme Court and recalling so many cases when President’s assurances that a nominee was conservative proved untrue, one former Republican president defended an appointment of a justice who turned out to be far more liberal than anticipated.
Former President Gerald R. Ford, whose sole appointment to the court was that of Justice John Paul Stevens in 1975, said recently that the former Chicago appellate court judge "has served his nation well." According to USA Today, the 92-year-old Ford said that the man who is now the senior justice of the Supreme Court has served on the court "with dignity, intellect, and without partisan concerns." At 85, Stevens has long been counted among the liberal bloc on the nine-member court, having voted to uphold the controversial Roe v. Wade ruling that permitted abortion nationwide and to permit the Democratic-orchestrated recount of Florida’s votes for president in 2000.
In a recent missive on five cases where Republican presidents assured conservatives that a Supreme Court nominee was "all right," Coalitions for America head Paul Weyrich recalled how Ford had contacted then-Sen. and stalwart conservative James McClure (R-Ida) to assuage doubts about whether Stevens would strictly interpret the Constitution. "After five ‘trust-mes,’" Weyrich later told a group of conservatives in Washington during a discussion of the Miers appointment, "I can’t trust a president on the court anymore."