George Bush has indicated that he’s likely to turn down requests by Democratic senators for the legal papers written by Harriet Miers while in the White House. He claims executive privilege–and it’s such an important privilege for a president to preserve!
President Bush signaled on Tuesday that he would most likely reject any requests from the Senate for documents written by Harriet E. Miers during the nearly six years she worked in the White House before he chose her to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Asked at a news conference whether he would release some or all of her legal work as White House counsel, Mr. Bush said that the principle of executive privilege was important and that any Senate request for documents would be a distraction from considering Ms. Miers’s qualifications.
“I just can’t tell you how important it is for us to guard executive privilege in order for there to be crisp decision making in the White House.”
I say: great. Let him preserve his privilege (he’s very good at preserving his privileges and those of his corporate cronies). But no Democratic senator should even consider voting for her without those documents. This might seem a slightly extreme position to some. But consider this: less is known legally about this Supreme Court nominee than any one in memory. I’m no historian of the Court, but seems to me that going back many decades there hasn’t been a nominee (even if they never served as a judge) who hasn’t left some kind of paper trail. With Miers, there’s virtually nothing without those documents. Do Dems want to use her testimony at Dallas city council meetings as the only ammunition they have for the upcoming hearings?
Bush is now weak enough that the Dems no longer owe him or Miers the unearned deference they showed Roberts.
Another issue that deeply alarms me about Miers is her evangelical faith and professed opposition to abortion:
Religion appears to have influenced her views on certain subjects. In a discussion with her campaign manager in 1989, Ms. Miers said she had been in favor in her younger years of a woman’s right to have an abortion, but her views evolved against abortion, influenced largely by her born-again religious beliefs, said Lorlee Bartos, a Democratic campaign consultant in Dallas who managed Ms. Miers’s City Council campaign.
In this article, the Times delves into Miers’ efforts to overturn the American Bar Association’s support of abortion rights:
…There was a strong, albeit ultimately unsuccessful effort to return the bar association back to neutrality [on the abortion issue] or, failing that, to require a referendum of the bar association’s entire membership on the issue. Ms. Miers was a leader in those efforts.
…Ms. Miers gave $150 to an anti-abortion group’s dinner in Texas in 1989.
With Roberts, Dems (or at least those who voted for him) somehow went on faith that he’d maintain Roe v. Wade as “decided law.” With the examples of Thomas and Scalia before us (who refused to discuss their positions on this), can we trust on faith that Miers wouldn’t be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade? If not, then what business does any Dem have voting for her?