Judiciary

GOP Senators Admit They Have No Evidence Miers Fits the Scalia-Thomas Mold

When George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, he said he would name Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the court’s two boldest constitutionalists. 

HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor Amanda Carpenter and Managing Editor Rob Bluey asked Republican senators if they had seen any hard evidence that White House Counsel Harriet Miers would be that type of justice.


Do you see any hard evidence that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R-VA): Not at this point

If you don’t see it at the end of the hearings, would you consider a “no” vote?

ALLEN:  I’m going to court her due process.  I think the President should be given the presumption of qualifications judging from all of the other justices and judges he has appointed who are well-qualified and have the proper judicial philosophy as far as I am concerned.  Harriet Miers, I’ve looked at her legal background and I don’t know what her judicial philosophy is.  I hope to be able to discuss it with her one on one and will clearly watch the Judiciary Committee hearings to try to discern what her judicial philosophy is.  It’s just hard to say right now.  Now, the President is comfortable with her because he’s worked with her for several years.  I haven’t.  I’ve met her at various social functions.  I’ve actually talked to her about judges previously, but not in the sense of saying, “What do you think?”  It was more relating to her what I thought a proper judge is.

What kind of issues did you talk to her about?

ALLEN: I was talking to about various judges who I was recommending.  At any rate, it’s too early to judge which way anybody is going to—senators can say whatever they want. I consider this a very important responsibility.  This particular seat is one where those of us who are conservative would like to see [us] get four solid conservatives on the court. Right now we have three.  There’s two swing votes and four liberals. This is very important one and I’m going to watch it closely, but to answer that question is getting to0 far ahead of where the process is.


Do you see any hard evidence Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. TOM COBURN (R.-OKLA.): I haven’t even looked at her yet.  I’ve got too many things on my plate to even think about it right now.


Do you see any hard evidence Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R.-MINN.): I don’t know enough about Harriet Miers yet. We’ll find out more about it as we go through the hearing process.


Do you see any evidence that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas-type constitutionalist that President Bush promised to nominate?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R.-TEX.):  I think she’ll give her own answer to that question, but I think, as Judge Roberts pointed out, he’s his own man, and I think she’ll be her own woman. I’ve known her for 15 years, so I have no qualms or questions about her qualifications. I would just ask those who don’t know here to reserve judgment and let the process go forward. I think when it’s over they will be as satisfied as I am that she was a good pick.


Do you see any hard evidence that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R.-UTAH):  No, there’s no hard evidence of that.  I think it’s almost insulting, and not by you, to suggest she’s got to be in the mold of anybody.  I have no doubts she’s a decent, responsible conservative who will be a strict constructionist and that’s all we can ask for.


Do you see any hard evidence that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R.-TEX.): I think that she has the qualifications and the President knows her and knows how she thinks and how she approaches legal issues and has great confidence she’s going to be the strict constructionist he’s promised to appoint to the court.

If it’s still uncertain after the hearings, will you consider a “no” vote?

HUTCHISON:  I would not consider a “no” vote because I know Harriet Miers, I believe she is imminently qualified, I like someone we have someone with trial experience, practicing law experience and someone who is not from the eastern seaboard and a Harvard graduate.  I think it’s just important we have some other kind of experience on the court other than just government or academic experience

From your personal knowledge is there anything you could point to so we would know she would stand up for issues or anything like that?

HUTCHISON:  I think just like with Judge Roberts we have a general view of how she assesses the role of a judge and our system and I’m comfortable she would not try to make law from the bench and that she would be a strict constructionist and she’s qualified.


Do you see any hard evidence that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. INHOFE (R.-OKLA.):  No, because frankly, I don’t know Harriet Miers and I was probably among other who were surprised at her nomination.  I have no way of knowing and evaluating who she would be like.   I would only do this: I take the President’s word for the fact that, he has been very outspoken that he believes in her and he has his reasons and we’re now learning what those reasons are and that’s the best answer I can give you.

If it’s still uncertain at the end of the hearings, would you consider a “no” vote?

INFHOFE: I haven’t decided how I’m going to vote yet, I never do this early.  Obviously if something came out in the hearings that would convince me she might not be a good lifetime appointment I would vote no.


Do you know of any hard evidence on Harriet Miers that shows she’s a strict Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name?

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R.-GA.): I’ll say this: A Georgia attorney who is a man I know and respect greatly has been a close friend of hers for years and when she was nominated I was reminded of that and had an extensive conversation with him. And based on his recommendation she is very principled attorney of high standards, a very hard working individual. The President obviously has great confidence in her and both those things are very favorable with me.  But I haven’t met with her yet.  I meet with her in 10 days.

Did your friend point to any issues we could look to her to stand up for or has supported in the past?

ISAKSON:  The main thing is that Earl talked about was in both the American and the Texas bar was how strong she was for high standards and how willing she was to speak out and try to hold the bar accountable to what he thought were much higher standards. I didn’t ask him a question like that. I don’t know if he volunteered an answer I could plug into that question. He was very high on her based on his knowledge and experience. I will continue to learn and try and make an intelligent decision.


Is there any evidence you can see that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas-type constitutionalist President Bush promised to nominate?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R.-S.C.): I think we won’t know the answer to that question until we have the hearings.  But the fact that the President feels so comfortable with the nominee, and he’s been so bold in what he wants in a judge, that I would say that’s the best evidence—his comfort level.  But we cannot make decisions based on the comfort level of the President.  We need objective evidence.  Plus, I’ve been arguing against the idea of judging people’s hearts.  We want to judge their records and their abilities.  Now, I think her record of supporting this President’s selections is strong evidence she believes in conservative judges. But she needs to make that case herself.

Were you disappointed at all he didn’t put forward someone such as Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owen?

GRAHAM: I was–let’s put it this way: There are a lot of well-qualified woman and minorities who have long judicial records that conservatives could be very proud of.  I think Harriet Miers brings to the court real-world legal experience that could be beneficial, but we’ve got to wait and see if she can make the case that she is capable for the job and will be a strict constructionist as the President’s indicated.

Have you decided how you’re going to vote?

GRAHAM:  I’m predisposed to vote “yes,” but we’ll just wait and see what happens.


Do you see any hard evidence that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist that Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R.-IND.):  I haven’t tried to gauge whether she is or not.  I’m going to look and see if she’s well-qualified for the court and I’ll make that judgment after I hear more from her.

If there’s still uncertainly after the hearings, will you consider a “no” vote?

LUGAR:  I’m inclined to vote for her.  I start on that presumption that I’ll probably vote for her, but I’m going to listen carefully to the testimony.


Do you see any hard evidence that Harriet Myers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R.-ARIZ.): She hasn’t served on any courts, so obviously we don’t have any court decisions, but clearly she has a very conservative position on most issues. She displayed those when she was head of the Texas Bar Association.

What issues were those?

MCCAIN:  I don’t know.  They just tell me that she did.  I haven’t reviewed her record.

If it doesn’t pan out she did, would you consider a “no” vote?

MCCAIN:  If it turns out she’s a communist I would consider a no vote.  Or, perhaps an arsonist, or an axe-murderer, but we have to review it.  I am favorably disposed towards her and want to see the hearings.  That’s why we have the hearings.


Do you see any hard evidence Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R.-KAN.): I don’t know and I don’t think we will know until we get to the hearings, which is why we have hearings.  So, I think it’s premature and probably not very accurate to try and compare one nominee to other justices.  Clarence Thomas is not Scalia is not Souter is not so on and so forth.  I think she’s her own person with probably fit the category of a legal scholar more than anything else from what I’ve been able to read. So let’s see how the hearings go and we’ll see.

If it’s still uncertain after the hearings would you consider a “no” vote?

ROBERTS:  I’m going to be looking to her to determine whether or not she would make a good Supreme Court Justice, not whether or not she’s a clone of Scalia or Thomas or anyone else.  So, if by her performance during the hearings I am convince like I was with Judge Roberts, most Kansans with an open mind thought we was a very fine pick, especially after the hearings. So, let’s see


Do you see any hard evidence that Harriet Miers is in the mold of Scalia-Thomas and is the nominee Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R.-ALA.): The President promised what he’d looked for in a judge is someone of that caliber and he knows Harriet Miers extremely well and he believes she fits in that so that’s evidence.  And I think we’re all looking at her record and expect the nominee will be able to articulate a philosophy of judging that’s consistent with theirs.  And, I think she has that philosophy.  She believes a judge should show restraint and not cite foreign law and should obey the constitution.  That’s really what Thomas and Scalia stand for.


Right now can you point to any hard evidence that might indicate Harriet Miers might be in the mold of a Scalia-Thomas type judge Bush promised to the court?

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R.-PA.): Any hard evidence?

Yes.

SPECTER: I don’t know whether she’s going to be a Holmes, a Brandeis, a Scalia, a Thomas or a Roberts. That’s what I want to find out.


Do you see any hard evidence Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas constitutionalist Bush promised to name to the Court?

SEN. JIM TALENT (R.-MO.): I think it’s very early in the process to say that we know conclusively about Ms. Miers.  I see a lot of very strong credentials.  I think the fact she’s been heavily involved in picking judges is sign she believes in judges who will adhere to the Constitution and the laws.  I think what we all need to do is maybe owe her in the process is receptiveness to this nomination while we look at the hearings and look at what develops.  If you’ll recall a lot when Judge Roberts was nominated a lot of people said “We’re not too sure about him,” but when they saw him and had a chance to talk to him they thought very strongly he would be a good Chief Justice.  I think we need to do the same thing with Ms. Miers.  I do think her credentials, her achievements in the field of law are very good.  I have been concerned some people who said she not achieved enough in the field of law just because she hasn’t been a judge. And, maybe because she’s not from the East Coast.  I think there’s some of that working here.  Now, with Chief Justice Rehnquist dying and Justice O’Connor leaving I don’t think there is anyone on the court now that is from the West.  The fact she’s spent most of her life outside of Washington is a plus.  She has the credentials and now we’re going to look and see if she has the philosophy.

You mentioned her judge selection. Is there anything in the selection of judges that she’s picked that make you–?

TALENT:  Well, I think by and large the President’s judicial nominees have been very strong.  That’s the reason we’ve been fighting so hard to confirm them.  The fact the President would pick her given his nominees have been very strong to this point, he understands the significance of a judge that follows the law rather than trying to make it is point in her favor.  I think the fact she tried to get the ABA not to take a position on abortion is a point in her favor.  But, we have to wait and see.  That’s a safe position and honorable position and we just have to watch her.


Is there any evidence that Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas-type constitutionalist that President Bush had promised when he was running for office?

SEN. CRAIG THOMAS (R.-WYO.):  There isn’t any evidence that she isn’t.  He believes in that, and I don’t know why he would appoint anyone who he didn’t think was going to represent his point of view.

Are you going to support the nominee?

THOMAS:  I intend to now.  We’re going to see a lot of things happen, but she’s the President’s choice.  I think she has a strong feeling about the conservative aspect of the court, and certainly the judicial aspect of it.  I’m not concerned she hasn’t served there before.  In fact, that’s probably a good balance.  So, we’ll see.  But I’m inclined to vote that way.


Do you see any hard evidence Harriet Miers is the Scalia-Thomas type constitutionalist Bush promised to name?

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R.-S.D.):  I just don’t think we know.  We have the assurances from the White House she would be the kind of justice he talked about during the course of the campaign.  And, I think you have to look at his record and he has appointed those types of judges to the appellate court and of course with the Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court.  So, I think you look at the record and you give him benefit of the doubt.  You give her the benefit of the doubt.  But the record is pretty thin in terms of her not having been a judge.  I think that’s why there’s so many questions being asked and so much uncertainty cast around the process right now.

If after the hearing you still don’t know for sure and you’re still uncertain will you consider a “no” vote?

THUNE: What I’ve said is I’m reserving judgment and like everyone else, want to hear what she has to say.  I have a meeting scheduled with her next week and obviously we have the Judiciary Committee hearing process coming up.  So, I’m not contemplating how I’m going to vote at this point, but I think in fairness because we don’t know and there’s some angst among conservatives out there and obviously among liberals too because both sides don’t really know  exactly what we’re getting at this point.  And I think it’s going to take some time and the ability on her part to be able to articulate to the Judiciary Committee a little bit more about her judicial philosophy to give people a comfort level about that.  So, I think until that happens there’s going to be some folks, and naturally the left is never going to be on board with her, but I think there’s apprehension among conservative right now and I expect you’re going to see that until assurance is given.  Or, at least the perception she’s the person who would fit in the Thomas and Scalia mold.

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