Robert Novak

 Fund wrote that Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, on the conference call, flatly predicted that their friend Miers would rule against Roe v. Wade. Although the two jurists deny that, I checked with two sources on the conference call who confirmed Fund's version. That raises the possibility of bringing two judges under oath before the Senate committee to grill them on what they said and what Miers told them.

 The possibility of the Lottery Commission controversy being the subject of confirmation hearings is even more daunting for the White House. The story now is only being printed in alternative publications, such as the Dallas Observer of Oct. 13. These reports recalled the lawsuit brought by Lawrence Littwin alleging that Chairman Miers fired him as the Lottery Commission's executive director because he had uncovered corruption involving Gtech, the lottery management firm.

 Littwin's federal suit claimed Miers protected Gtech because its lobbyist, former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, as Texas House Speaker had pushed Bush ahead of other applicants for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Democrat Barnes had been silent until a 1999 deposition by him said he had pushed young Bush to the head of the line. Barnes, who received from Gtech $3 million a year and $23 million in separation pay, told me that the Bush Air National Guard story has "absolutely nothing" to do with his settlement. Littwin is silent under terms of a $300,000 settlement ending his suit. Former Texas Chief Justice John Hill, a member of the Lottery Commission at the time, told me: "There is no substance at all to these charges." Miers handled the case "with care and judiciousness," Hill added.

 Whether Barnes and Littwin will be subpoenaed to rehash these charges is in the hands of Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter. The White House saved him from defeat in the 2004 Pennsylvania Republican primary and did not try to keep him from becoming chairman this year. But nobody expects Specter to grant forbearance for the president's lawyer.


Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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