Monday, October 03, 2005

Why W trusts Harriet Miers

The selection of Harriet Miers has produced much wringing of hands among many conservatives. She is a stealth nominee with a short paper trail. And I've argued strongly that GOP Supreme Court nominees should be on record as critiquing Roe v. Wade.

But as a stealth nominee, her disguise is awful thin. David Frum writes: "She is quiet, discreet, intensely loyal to Bush personally, and - though not ideologically conservative - nonetheless firmly pro-life. " She is listed for two campaign contributions to Democrats: Lloyd Bentsen (1987) and Al Gore (1988)--neither terribly surprising for Texas conservative Democrat in the late 1980s. Since then, her political contributions show a strongly conservative, strongly Republican--and very strongly pro-life--political bent.

Since 1990, she has made 13-14 political donations, and every single one appears to be to a 100% pro-life candidate.

Harriet Mier's political donations:

In 1989, she is said to have given $150 to Texans for Life.

This was around the time she began dating pro-life Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht: they "went to two or three prolife dinners in the late 80s or early 90s." The two belong to the same pro-life evangelical church in Texas, where Miers regularly gave 10% of her income and helped head the mission board.

Then in 1992-1993 as the first woman head of the Texas Bar, she lobbied to roll back the American Bar Association's support for abortion rights. This does not appear to be simply based on the idea that the ABA should not be on record on this issue; it seems to be based on her own pro-life convictions.

1994-95 she contributed to contributed to Congressman Pete Sessions, rated 0% by NARAL (Dec 2003) and 100% Pro-Life by Texas Right to Life.

In 1995 she contributed to pro-life stalwart Phil Gramm's presidential campaign, one of the National Right to Life Committee's favorite senators.

In 1997-99 she contributed to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, rated 7% NARAL and 100% pro-life by Texas Right to Life.

In 2000, she contributed to Jonathan Newton a 100% pro-life GOP congressional candidate.

Most impressive, in 2000 she made a very unusual out-of-state campaign contribution to Donald Stenberg, the Nebraska Attorney General--just after he argued Stenberg v. Carhart , defending Nebraska's ban on partial birth abortion before the US Supreme Court. This can scarcely be read as anything other than an expression of her own opposition to partial birth abortion.

In 2000 and 2003, she made contributions to W's presidential run.

In light of this, it is not surprising that the NYT Times reports: In an interview, Mr. Dobson said he came out to support her partly because of her faith and partly because he believed she opposed abortion. "I have reason to believe she is pro-life," he said.

Similarly Jay Sekulow of ACLJ: "I have been privileged to work with her in her capacity as White House counsel. She is bright, thoughtful, and a consummate professional and I enthusiastically endorse her nomination."

Some have objected that Miers is not qualified to be a Supreme Court justice--and compared to John Roberts' resume that's probably right. But then, just about anybody looks unqualified next to John Roberts. If Miers' resume is compared with Judges Maureen Corrigan, Karen Williams or Sykes--the standard conservative short list as of last weekend--there is nothing that suggests that Corrigan, Williams or Sykes has better credentials than Miers.

It is true, of course, that Miers has not served as a judge. But 41 of 109 Supreme Court justices had no previous judicial experience.

The chairman of the Texas bar described her as "hardworking" and "brilliant".

I am disappointed that President Bush did not choose a justice explicitly on record criticizing Roe v. Wade: such as Michael McConnell. Some of the stinging criticism directed toward the White House over the last 24 hours on this nomination seems to me to be justified.

But Miers is very conservative, very pro-life, and qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. She will make an excellent justice. She is worth supporting--and if necessary, worth fighting for.

UPDATE: Special welcome to Hugh Hewitt readers!--who may also like this and this on Harriet Miers...

Postscript: Harriet Miers vs. Hillary Clinton:
The NLJ rated Harriet Miers twice in their list of the 100 most influential lawyers in America--the same number of times that HRC made the list. (The list is done once every three years). Lest one put too much emphasis on this...

The National Law Journal:
How we do it
Hillary Clinton is using her inclusion in the 1988 and 1991 NLJ lists in campaign materials to promote her U.S. Senate campaign in New York. She brags she was once chosen as one of the 100 "top" lawyers in the country. One might question the wisdom of bringing up some of the reasons for her inclusion: her connection with the Rose Law Firm, whose billing records she famously misplaced, or her being a director on the board of notoriously anti-union Wal-Mart. But our quibble is with her use of the word "top."

To us, that implies "best" or "smartest," but Ms. Clinton was instead rated one of the most "influential" lawyers, which we equate more with the notion of power or impact, in a section we subtitle "Profiles in Power." (Her Web site also says that it was our sister publication The American Lawyer magazine that honored her; as they say at the White House, "Mistakes were made.")