In 1993, Miers fought to get the American Bar Association (ABA) to reverse its official stand in favor of abortion on demand. It is not yet clear if she did this because she believes abortion is wrong and was incorrectly decided by the Supreme Court, or if she thought it might appease pro-life ABA members. This is a question that must be asked during her confirmation hearings.
The personal background stuff is interesting, including her groundbreaking efforts as a woman, her pro bono work and concern for the poor and her work vetting other conservative judicial nominees for the president. But the most important question is what does she believe and does she have positions, or convictions? At age 60, one might expect her to have convictions about the law, its purpose and its source.
One person who knew her, former White House speechwriter David Frum, writes of Miers on The National Review Online, "In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me the president was the most brilliant man she ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under criticism that a conservative justice must expect."
That last part is fundamental to conservatives. If she is one of them, will she resist the inevitable liberal undertow that has caused so many recent nominees to lean left when the criticism is intense? In this regard, is she like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas (two of Bush's judicial role models), or is she more like O'Connor, Souter and Anthony M. Kennedy? To borrow a baseball analogy, is she a switch-hitter?
This appears to be the future of judicial nominees named by conservative Republican presidents. We can't have a debate about critical legal and moral issues, because a nominee clearly on the conservative side might not be confirmed. There will be no more Robert Borks to "Bork." So we get people with little, or no, "paper trails" and must accept them on faith.
Conservatives would like to trust the president, but they haven't come this far to live by faith in him alone. They want verification and they should have it before pledging their allegiance to the confirmation of Harriet Miers.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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