Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ms. Miers on Social Issues and Self-Determination

From the WaPo:

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers said in a speech more than a decade ago that "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and school prayer and that in cases where scientific facts are disputed and religious beliefs vary, "government should not act."

In a 1993 speech to a Dallas women's group, Miers talked about abortion, the separation of church and state, and how the issues play out in the legal system. "The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination," she said. "And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense."

Ed Whelan--who has reserved judgment until now--finds this speech to be the last straw:

I have tried hard to give the White House and Harriet Miers the benefit of the doubt on her nomination and to withhold judgment. But I can no longer do so. The damage from this disastrous selection has gotten worse and worse every day, and there is every reason to think that it will continue to compound.

The badly muddled thinking in the speech that Miers delivered in 1993 (and that the Washington Post reported on today) is only the latest in a mounting pile of evidence that makes it implausible to hold out hope any longer that Miers will prove to be a sound judicial conservative. I don’t see how anything she says at her hearing — or anything else that realistically emerges between now and then — can offset this evidence.

Harriet Miers has earned the president’s trust and deserves our respect, and it is lamentable that some folks, in their deep disappointment at her nomination, have been excessive in their criticisms of her. But I see no reason why anyone concerned about the problem of judicial usurpation of the political processes should trust that a Justice Miers would be part of the solution. . . .

At this point the only course of action that will entitle Miers to continued respect is for her to ask the president to withdraw her nomination. Pronto.