Harriet Miers Update

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Supreme Court1 Comment


"As the White House seeks to rally senators behind the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers, lawyers for the Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee are expressing dissatisfaction with the choice and pushing back against her, aides to 6 of the 10 Republican committee members" told the New York Times.

Said one Republican staffer: "Everybody is hoping that something will happen on Miers, either that the president would withdraw her or she would realize she is not up to it and pull out while she has some dignity intact."


David Frum:

Even more ominously, the Today show interview announces a new strategy of trying to win the Miers nomination by waging war on the president’s core supporters. In the first week of the battle, the White House sent out James Dobson to woo evangelical conservatives. That didn’t work out too well. So now the White House has switched strategies. It has turned its back on conservative evangelicals and is instead using Laura Bush to woo suburban moderates. But remember: Laura Bush is on record as a supporter – not just of abortion rights – but of the Roe v. Wade decision. Interviewed on the Today program in January 2001, Mrs. Bush was asked point blank about the case. Her answer: "No, I don’t think it should be overturned." Is it credible that Mrs. Bush would be endorsing Harriet Miers if the first lady thought that Miers would really do what James Dobson thinks she’ll do?

It is madness for a 37% president to declare war on his strongest supporters, but that is exactly the strategy that this unwise nomination has forced upon President Bush. And every day that passes, he will get angrier, the attacks will get fiercer – and his political position will weaken.


From Focus On The Family website:

"Well, my reasons for supporting her were twofold, John. First, because Karl Rove had shared with me her judicial philosophy which was consistent with the promises that President Bush had made when he was campaigning. Now he told the voters last year that he would select people to be on the Court who would interpret the law rather than create it and judges who would not make social policy from the bench. Most of all, the President promised to appoint people who would uphold the Constitution and not use their powers to advance their own political agenda. Now, Mr. Rove assured me in that telephone conversation that Harriet Miers fit that description and that the President knew her well enough to say so with complete confidence.

Then he suggested that I might want to validate that opinion by talking to people in Texas who knew Miers personally and he gave me the names of some individuals that I could call. And I quickly followed up on that conversation and got glowing reports from a federal judge in Texas, Ed Kinkeade and a Texas Supreme Court justice, Nathan Hecht, who is highly respected and has known Harriet Miers for more than 25 years. And so, we talked to him and we talked to some others who are acquainted with Ms. Miers."

Did they talk about Miers’ views on abortion?  Rove talking to Dobson is not a privileged converstaion.  Dobson needs to be subpoenaed!!

UPDATE:  Bush gives this unsatisfactory explanation:

President Bush said Wednesday his advisers were telling conservatives about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers’ religious beliefs because they are interested in her background and "part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion."

"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "They want to know Harriet Miers’ background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion."

Her religion should have nothing to do with her judicial opinions.  Bush should say so, and more importantly, she should say so.


From the National Journal:

Is it just us or is there already a storyline developing about ‘who’s to blame for Miers’"? And if so, is WH CoS Andrew Card about to be on the wrong end of this blame game?

This scenario holds Card responsible for pushing President Bush to select Miers, for pushing her through the vetting process secretly, inartfully, and incompletely, and for screwing up the outreach to conservatives.

Republicans close to the process have marveled at how the White House seems to be chasing information about Miers it reads in the press, rather than framing it. "It’s as if," one adviser who is sympathetic to Miers told The Hotline today, "they don’t know anything about her."

Update: Newsweek’s Howard Fineman speaks of a civil war between the potential Fitzgerald indictees (Rove, Libby) and Card, who reps the interests of the Bush family.

Read on…

A day after the Miers pick was announced, a tick-tock credited Card with beginning the "secret" Miers vetting process after Bush asked him to assess Miers as a potential nominee.

Then consider: a "Bush adviser" told Time late last week that "[t]his is something that Andy and the President cooked up. Andy knew it would appeal to the President because he loves appointing his own people and being supersecret and stealthy about it."

The Kansas City Star picked up the item.

Erick Erickson, a conservative lawyer with close ties to current members of the White House staff (and who was among the first among those plugged in to float Miers’ name) has a post today based on conversations with numerous sources. "What all the callers wanted to say, but then decided they should not say, or at least not be quoted saying, was that Andy Card really and truly was the person pushing Miers."

Erick Erickson’s post on Miers is revealing for other things it says, i.e.,:

"One outside source who has a good ear to the ground tells me that the White House most likely has nothing else to offer in Miers’ favor, but will just recycle previous sound bites"

and that the

"vetting process was so poorly done that much of what is now coming out about Miers was unknown before her nomination."


Robertson70 “These so-called movement conservatives don’t have much of a following, the ones that I’m aware of. And you just marvel, these are the senators, some of them who voted to confirm the general counsel of the ACLU to the Supreme Court, and she was voted in almost unanimously. And you say, ‘now they’re going to turn against a Christian who is a conservative picked by a conservative President and they’re going to vote against her for confirmation.’ Not on your sweet life, if they want to stay in office.”