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Still No Liberal Perspective On Harriet Miers

Reported by Ellen - October 12, 2005

Another Hannity & Colmes program, another night of a single, conservative guest to discuss Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court. Last night's guest was radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. Once again, the focus of conversation was why conservatives should or should not trust Bush's nomination. This has been a running discussion ever since her nomination with no other considerations about Miers' candidacy, particularly from a liberal perspective.

Alan Colmes asked two questions and made one comment: 1) Why don't conservatives trust Bush's appointment; 2) Re the concern that Miers' once supported Gore, "Can't you have been a Democrat at one time and then become a Republican? It worked for Ronald Reagan... What evidence do you have that she's not a conservative?" and 3) Colmes said there seems to be a double standard because when Democrats questioned Roberts' credentials, they were attacked.

Not mentioned were any of the issues that the Center For American Progress (a liberal thinktank) has raised about her nomination, namely:

1. Miers' Conflict of Interest problem.

She will be forced to recuse herself from many cases that would come before the Court due to her participation in controversial issues during her tenure in the White House. One conservative political consultant concerned about the recusal issue said, "I don't see how she survives the confirmation hearings.'"

...According to talking points distributed by White House allies, Miers was "heavily involved in the war on terror." Former White House political director Ken Mehlman emphasized that Miers would "not interfere with the administration's management of the war on terrorism." Miers was also part of the "administration's legal team when it developed both the Patriot Act and the detention policy for suspected terrorists." Miers's participation in these controversial issues that may come before the Court, coupled with the concern that she will be Bush's proxy vote, has led some experts to argue her nomination should be rejected unless she can "show that she will not have to recuse herself in vital war-related cases." The recusal standard may force her to disqualify herself from a much wider range of cases. For example, on the current Supreme Court docket, there is a phsyician-assisted suicide case that has as one of its named parties Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a former colleague of Miers in the White House. If Miers commented on the case at any point, or if she worked with the Department of Justice on the issue, she would be forced to recuse herself.

2. Her bond with Bush raises questions about her judicial independence.

"You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect," Harriet Miers wrote to George W. Bush days after his 51st birthday in July 1997. She said Bush was "cool" and that he and Laura were "the greatest!" She told then-Gov. Bush, "All I hear is how great you and Laura are doing," and said, "Texas is blessed." Miers's fawning over Bush only increased over time. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum said Miers once told her "that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met." Such obvious loyalty towards Bush creates a greater need to discern whether Miers can exercise her judgment independent from the president's and whether she would feel comfortable taking a position which she knows Bush would not support. Much of Miers's government service work has been dedicated to "protect[ing] and polish[ing] the image of George W. Bush." Given that Bush has repeatedly said that Miers's philosophy is "not going to change," the question about her independence is an important issue that senators should raise at her confirmation hearings.

Comment: I have heard Colmes raise the question of her judicial independence on his radio show so why not the TV show?

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