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Both Republicans
and Democrats have a problem with Miers

Both Republicans
and Democrats have a problem with Miers

Harriet_miers

An antigay U.S. senator says Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has assured him that a stand she took in favor of equal rights for gays and lesbians 16 years ago would not factor into her rulings on the high court should she be confirmed.

An antigay U.S. senator says Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has assured him that a stand she took in favor of equal rights for gays and lesbians 16 years ago would not factor into her rulings on the Supreme Court, should she be confirmed. Colorado Republican Wayne Allard is the Senate sponsor of a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage. The Denver Post reports that Allard met with Miers for about 40 minutes. Afterward, Allard said he did not ask Miers directly about her views on same-sex marriage or the right to privacy. But he did ask her about her responses to questionnaires she filled out during her 1989 run for the Dallas city council. Asked by the Lesbian-Gay Political Coalition of Dallas whether she believed gays and lesbians "should have the same civil rights" as straight people, Miers responded yes. She said she did not support the repeal of the Texas sodomy law, however. Allard told the Post he asked Miers how--having taken a public position on gay rights as a candidate--she would approach the issue as a judge. Allard said, "She assures me that those are her own personal views and as a judge she will look at the facts of the case." Allard said he does not believe Miers's nomination is in peril despite criticism from the Right. But as for himself, he told the Post he's not ready to endorse her and plans to follow her confirmation hearings before he decides whether he will. Meanwhile, the White House is trying to have it both ways in marketing Harriet Miers to disgruntled Republicans. To conservatives, the president's aides talk up a 1989 document showing she held clear anti-abortion views. Then they pivot and tell everyone else those were just the personal views of a candidate for the Dallas city council and not a sign of how she might vote on the Supreme Court. Bush emphasized last week that "part of Harriet Miers's life is her religion." Almost immediately White House spokesman Scott McClellan complained that too much was being made of her membership in an evangelical Christian church. Bush said he knows her heart and that she won't change. Except she has. She was a Catholic when she was young. And she was a Democrat who turned Republican. So far, the strategy seems to have made neither side happy. Social conservatives remain skeptical of her credentials and judicial philosophy, and Democrats are finding more reason to oppose her. That the president seems to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth escapes nobody. "They try to reassure conservatives that she's pro-life. Then two hours later McClellan gets out and says this doesn't say anything about how she would rule. I don't think that was very effective," said William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine. Democrats were saying much the same thing but from the other side of the political spectrum. "We know less about this nominee than we knew about any previous nominee, and her questionnaire shines no light on what would be the most illuminating experience--her service in the White House," Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday. The panel will begin confirmation hearings November 7. Democrats said internal documents related to Miers's service as White House counsel were needed first. In the past Bush could count on the support of conservatives, even when his actions didn't live up to his rhetoric on matters such as pushing for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage or permitting school prayer. No longer. Fred Greenstein, a political scientist at Princeton University, suggested the need to do damage control over the flawed early response to Hurricane Katrina and to the CIA leak investigation may have thrown Bush and his advisers off stride. Miers might be a good choice for the court, but the nomination "needed more in the way of preparation and groundwork," Greenstein said. "Sometimes presidents either make bad choices or make defensible choices but don't follow through and defend them." (AP/Tim Curran,Sirius OutQ News)

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