Skip to comments.NRLC Statement on the Nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court
Posted on 10/06/2005 7:59:11 PM PDT by nunya bidness
Statement on the Nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court
WASHINGTON (October 4, 2005) -- The following statement can be attributed to David N. O'Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC):
"President Bush has an excellent record of appointing judges who recognize the proper role of the courts, which is to interpret the law according to its actual text, and not to legislate from the bench. We believe that Harriet Miers is another nominee who will abide by the text and history of the Constitution."
According to published reports, Harriet Miers has been active since about 1980 in the Valley View Christian Church in Dallas.
According to material posted this week on the internet by Marvin Olasky (editor of World magazine), Nathan Hecht, a Republican member of the Texas Supreme Court, is an elder at the same church, and has been a close friend of Miers for decades. Hecht told Olasky "her personal views are consistent with that of evangelical Christians."
Hecht also said that he and Miers "went to two or three prolife dinners in the late 80s or early 90s."
In 1989, according to various press accounts, Miers donated $150 to Texans United for Life, a Dallas-based pro-life group, and she was listed as a "bronze patron" in the group's dinner program.
On October 4, 2005, the Dallas Morning News published a story based on an interview with Lorlee Bartos, who was Miers' campaign manager in 1989 when Miers ran, successfully, for an at-large seat on the Dallas City Council. The story reported that the two women discussed abortion once during that period, and quotes Bartos as saying, "She is on the extreme end of the anti-choice movement," and, "I think Harriet's belief was pretty strongly felt. I suspect she is of the same cloth as the president."
In 1993, when Miers was the president of the Texas State Bar, she helped lead an unsuccessful effort to rescind a pro-abortion stance taken by the American Bar Association in favor of a neutral position. Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the conservative Federalist Society, said, "The ABA is a place where there was an awful lot of liberal activism, so it took some courage for a woman to take the position she did." On October 4, 2005, the New York Times ran a story about Mier's role in the ABA fight, under the headline "Miers Was Leader in Effort Within Bar to Rescind Support for Abortion."
Some commentary on the current nomination incorporates incorrect information or assumptions about the legal status quo on abortion. On September 14, 2005, the Los Angeles Times published an eye-opening examination, written by its veteran Supreme Court reporter, on the true scope of the "right to abortion" created by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and more recent rulings, which are still often badly misunderstood. (It is here.) The article also summarizes documents that reveal the internal processes at the Supreme Court that produced Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Among currently sitting Supreme Court justices, six (including Sandra Day O'Connor) have voted in favor of Roe v. Wade -- that is, in support of the doctrine that abortion must be allowed for any reason until "viability" (about five and one-half months), and for "health" reasons (broadly defined) even during the final three months of pregnancy. Two justices (Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) have voted to overturn Roe, and one (John Roberts) has not voted on the matter.
A refutation of the myth that the Supreme Court has been divided 5 to 4 on Roe v. Wade, issued by the Annenberg Center's FactCheck.org, is posted here: http://www.factcheck.org/article176.html
However, regarding the permissibility of a meaningful ban on partial-birth abortion, the current Court is split 5-3 in favor of partial-birth abortion (not counting Chief Justice Roberts, who has not voted on the issue). In 2000, Justice O'Connor voted to say that Roe v. Wade prevented bans on partial-birth abortion. (Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000) On September 23, the Bush Administration's Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to accept for review, this term, a lower-court ruling that struck down the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. The Solicitor General's petition is posted here.
On November 30, 2005, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, a case which will determine whether states can continue to require that a parent be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor daughter. Some observers believe that the case may be decided on a 5-4 vote, one way or the other.
National Right to Life is the nation's largest pro-life organization, with 50 state affiliates and approximately 3,000 local affiliates nationwide. NRLC works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.
The ACLU is arguing Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood. Follow the link for their position.
Here's the brief.
And finally here's NARAL's take on Harriet:
"The burden is on the Bush administration and Harriet Miers to prove to the American people that she will respect and protect our fundamental freedoms, including a woman's right to choose. Miers does not appear to have a public record to assure America's pro-choice majority that she is a moderate in the tradition of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the critical swing vote that protected womens reproductive health and freedom. The president has known Miers for many years, so its incumbent upon his administration and this nominee to share with the American public her views on critical issues, including the right to privacy, said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. As the Court prepares to hear two cases affecting womens reproductive rights this fall, the public does not want President Bush to replace Justice OConnor with someone who would roll back protections for womens health. With so much at stake, the burden of proof is on Miers and the Bush administration to provide evidence that she will continue the OConnor tradition of independence, moderation, and reason."
Given the timing of the President's appointment and the pending case of Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood coupled with Harriet's obvious faith makes me conclude that she will be a key vote in not only possibly reversing Roe but also in critical abortion cases as soon as November 30 of this year.
Thanks for the head's up Howlin.
Is it me, or are they downplaying their support? Like under the radar stuff.
I'm looking for Mark Levin's opinion of Miers, anyone?
You're right, they are downplaying it. Bush & Company are playing the game this way because the Senate Democrats have forced him to.
The attacks on Miers by many conservatives may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as they've left liberals and Senate Democrats not knowing what to think.
One thing I found odd is the NRLC had no comment on the nomination of John Roberts. Seeing as how the Supreme Court is the central body standing in the way of the legality abortion going to the states, I would have thought they would have said something.
I'm beginning to subscribe to the theory that he's having to do it because of OUR people too.
Could be. I suspect it's more a matter of holding their fire if they don't know anything or holding their fire if they do know something.
If the NRLC endorsed Harriet before she went before the JC she would be toast.
The Associated Press
July 7, 1981, Tuesday, AM cycle
Asked about Mrs. O'Connor's position on the extremely sensitive abortion issue, Reagan, who said he had interviewed the intended nominee, told reporters as he left the press room: "I am completely satisfied."
At her press conference, Mrs. O'Connor declined questions over that issue, the ERA and others, saying "I'm sorry. I cannot address myself to substantive issues pending my confirmation."
But deputy White House press secretary Larry Speakes said she had told the president "she is personally opposed to abortion and that it was especially abhorent to her. She also feels the subject of the regulation of abortion is a legitimate subject for the legislative area."
The NRLC tends to be pragmatic and political. Not all pro-lifers have agreed with all their positions over the years.
I'd venture to say that they didn't comment on Roberts because they weren't asked to. He was a strong candidate and they didn't need the endorsement. It would only have angered the Democrats.
Presumably one of Bush's people called them and asked them for a statement on Miers because the situation is playing out very differently this time. They don't need to hide her pro-life credentials from the Dems, they need to confirm them for doubting conservatives.
It doesn't seem to be a very strong record for endorsement. Hopefully, in the next month more information will be forthcoming that will strengthen this recommendation.
Of course, her personal views on abortion are of little consequence. What matters is if her understanding of the constitution favors "privacy" extended to abortion, or not.
A pro-abortion justice could rule against Roe, but I doubt they would, even though several prominent judicial scholars hold that view.
While I am in the "wait-and-see" camp, not the "the end is here" camp, I think the NRLC is going out on a limb on this one. Of course, they pretty much have to, since any nominee who is CERTAIN to vote down Roe wouldn't make it out of the judiciary committee, and wouldn't get 50 votes in the senate if they did. There are not 50 pro-life republicans, and if there is a pro-life democrat, they aren't going to vote against their party.
As important as abortion is to the health and psyche of the American public, there is more to selecting a nominee than just the pro-life issue.
These people act like, well if she's pro-life, that's all that matters.
I am ardently pro life and I hate abortionists. Still, I recognize there is much more to life than just that one issue.
Presumable, they didn't want to give ammunition to the Senate 'Rats and their interest group minions.
Or maybe it's a simple as the President knowing what's in her heart and given the current climate in the Senate he did what he thought was best. After all you have to imagine that he and Harriet have probably prayed about every document that she's put on his desk.
But you can't figure that a guy like Karl Rove may have given the pundit flamethrowers a little ammo in whatever way he could. And that would be a mind-blowing bit of strategery given the fallout from her nomination.
What matters is if her understanding of the constitution favors "privacy" extended to the infant in the womb, or not.
W has jumped the Shark
Yes, but as long as murder is legal, it is stain upon America and takes precendence before all other issues. If we have someone we are next to certain will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, I feel we should take them. But Miers still seems like she would be an all-around great justice.
I'm certain that Miers is a strong threat to the abortion industry. The only thing I've seen that reminds me of "never say never" is a comment by her friend, Justice Hecht, about a person being pro-life and still concluding that the Constitution permits abortions. But I think he said that to make the dogs lose their scent. Abortion on demand will take a hit if Miers is confirmed.
Roe v. Wade is the symbolic cornerstone of modern liberal judicial activism, if not an oft-cited pillar of jurisprudence. While I think we can go about changing the direction of the court, Bush's promise, in many ways, taking Roe down would be hailed as a big accomplishment, and would energize not only pro-lifers, but the judiciary is everything crowd. Bush would have a strong claim on fulfilling his promise.