Conservatives Still Unconvinced Miers Belongs on the Court

In the first 10 days following President Bush’s nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, only a few documents from the nominee’s past—some of them embarrassing—have dribbled out, leaving many conservative leaders and groups unconvinced that Miers should be confirmed.

Some conservatives have even called for her nomination to be withdrawn.

Judge Robert Bork told HUMAN EVENTS he believes that Miers’s nomination should be withdrawn, but is certain that Bush will not to do that.

Looking forward to her confirmation hearings, Bork said: “I think it will be a poor showing, but I think she will probably be confirmed.”

Asked about the contrast between conservatives who are openly opposing or criticizing the Miers nomination and those who are not, Bork said: “Some of them [conservatives] are involved with the administration and it makes it awkward for them to oppose. They have to support. And I think others keep their heads down because they don’t want to be unpopular with the administration, but they don’t want to say things they don’t believe.”

Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson did not mince words. “Yes, I would love to see that happen,” he said of a possible Miers withdrawal. He added that it was not enough for the White House to ask conservatives to “trust us” on a decision as important as a lifelong appointment to the Supreme Court.

Other conservative leaders such as David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, have not said much about the Miers nomination. When HUMAN EVENTS asked Keene if he would like to see President Bush withdraw Miers, Keene declined to comment. But he did say, “For the administration to personally attack their conservative friends and allies over the nomination is reprehensible and is creating wounds that will not easily heal, no matter how the Miers battle turns out.”

Mark Moller, editor in chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review, said, “I would like to see this nomination withdrawn simply because I think this is a missed opportunity. Harriet Miers has not demonstrated the No.1 criteria for being a Supreme Court justice and that is independence. Her background doesn’t suggest she is somebody who is capable of dealing with or has thought very hard about the most important constitutional issues the court is likely to face.”

Republican National Coalition for Life Director Colleen Parro said she, too, would like to see the Miers nomination withdrawn, but doesn’t think it is likely. “The elections of 2000 and 2004 were all about judges,” she said. “That’s what millions of Americans were told. They said to forget about any problems or misgivings they might have about Bush and just go with the judges. So what people were expecting was an equal and opposite person to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and we’re not getting it.”

Citizen Outreach President Chuck Muth would also like to see the Miers nomination withdrawn, but doubts the President will do so. “I think the only chance is if Harriet Miers herself decides this doesn’t serve the President well, it doesn’t serve the movement well and it doesn’t serve the country well.”

Jan LaRue, chief counsel of Concerned Women for America, said her group wants to know much more about Harriet Miers before it will take a position on her nomination. “We have asked questions,” said LaRue. “We have to have credible information to give her an endorsement and we’re not even close to that. I think if the information was available, it would be out there by now.”

Free Congress Foundation Chairman Paul Weyrich believes the fate of Miers’ nomination is now wholly in the hands of members of the Senate. “If it’s very clear that she doesn’t have the ability to be a good justice, senators themselves will quietly go to the White House and ask that she be withdrawn,” he said. “That, frankly, is the only way it is going to happen, because our calling for it doesn’t mean a thing. If senators detect a real fuzziness on the issue of whether or not the Constitution should be followed as is or if one should be flexible with it, then, I think, a number of them will go to the White House and say, ‘We can’t have her.’ That’s what will be decisive, not the conservative movement.”

When Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, was asked if he thought Bush should withdraw the nomination, he paused markedly. “The time freed up by picking his [Bush’s] own lawyer should now be spent cutting taxes,” he finally answered. Then, he added, “I can’t think of anything nice to say.”