Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Two-Faced Miers

The compassion of conservative Harriet Miers, like other corporate fundamentalists, extends to the unborn but not the sick.

In 1989 Miers was a candidate for Dallas City Council (another position for which she was poorly qualified) and responded to a questionnaire from Texans United for Life that she would support a constitutional amendment banning abortion.

During the same campaign, Miers told the Dallas Eagle Forum she would never support civil rights protection for people with HIV/AIDS. Then, out of her other face, she told the Lesbian/Gay Coalition of Dallas she would support a law protecting people with AIDS from discrimination. She also said the city had a responsibility to fund AIDS education and patient support services.

Can someone with these backward politics really be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court?

Miers' Doublespeak On AIDS
by Paul Johnson Washington Bureau Chief
Posted: October 18, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Newly released documents show that when Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers was running for a seat on the Dallas City Council in 1989 she was telling conservatives she would oppose civil rights protections for people with HIV/AIDS and at the same time telling gay activists she would support such a measure.

The new documents, turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, contain a questionnaire filled out by Miers for the conservative Eagle Forum of Texas. The group is affiliated with the national Eagle Forum, founded by anti-gay activist Phyllis Schafly.

The questionnaire was distributed to all candidates during the 1989 Dallas Council race.

One of the questions asks: "Would you support an ordinance that would force individual property owners and businesses to provide accommodation to persons with AIDS and those perceived to have AIDS." Miers answered 'No'.

A second question asks if she would "support an ordinance that would force businesses to hire persons with AIDS and those perceived to have AIDS." Again, Miers answered 'No'.

But, responding to a similar questionnaire from the Lesbian/Gay Coalition of Dallas Miers was asked if she would support a law protecting people with AIDS from discrimination she answered 'Yes'.

She also told the coalition that she believes the city has a responsibility to fund AIDS education and patient support services. She again answered yes. (story)

Asked if she would support raising the ceiling on the amount the city spends she also said yes, adding a caveat that it would depend on the available money in the city budget.

Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court has drawn criticism from both conservatives and liberals.

The administration has been attempting to shore up support for President Bush friend and currently the White House Counsel.

Earlier this month the Republican national Committee hosted a conference call between White House aides and conservative religious leaders in an attempt to win their support for Miers.

The call prompted National Stonewall Democrats to call on the President to also meet with gay leaders. (story)

But, despite the opposition to Miers by several conservative groups concerned she might be weak on abortion, she has the support of Focus on the Family's James C. Dobson - support that has raised the specter of a 'deal' between the administration and conservative Christian groups.

Specially, committee members from both parties, including chairman Senator Arlen Specter, want to know if Focus on the Family's James C. Dobson was given "back room assurances" that Miers would oppose same-sex marriage and Roe v Wade if appointed to the high court.

The question began to arise after a comment Dobson made on his nationally broadcast radio program. (story)

"When you know some of the things that I know - that I probably shouldn't know - you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice," Dobson told listeners..

"If I have made a mistake here, I will never forget the blood of those babies that will die will be on my hands to some degree," he said.

In the 1989 Eagle Forum document Miers said that she would "actively support" a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban abortion except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother.

Jim Dyke, a White House spokesman, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Miers's views as a candidate did not necessarily reflect what she might do as a Supreme Court justice.

"A candidate taking a political position in the course of a campaign is different from the role of a judge making a ruling in the judicial process," he said.

(c) 2005

And this one from Yahoo!
Miers Backed Ban on Most Abortions in '89
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent
Tue Oct 18,11:00 PM ET

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers pledged unflagging opposition to abortion as a candidate for the Dallas City Council in 1989, according to documents released Tuesday. She backed a constitutional amendment to ban the procedure in most cases and promised to appear at "pro-life rallies and special events."

Asked in a Texans United for Life questionnaire whether she would support legislation restricting abortions if the Supreme Court allowed it, Miers indicated she would. Her reply was the same when asked, "Will you oppose the use of city funds or facilities" to promote abortions?

Supporters of Miers' nomination said they hoped the single sheet of paper — delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of a shipment of 12 boxes of documents — would help reassure rebellious conservatives that she would not disappoint them if she takes a seat on the high court.

President Bush knew of the views she had held before he picked her for the court, spokesman Scott McClellan said at the White House. But he said the president "did not discuss with her or anyone else whether or not those were still her views."

One Democratic supporter of abortion rights responded warily. "This raises very serious concerns about her ability to fairly apply the law without bias in this regard," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record) of California. "It will be my intention to question her very carefully about these issues."

Miers also returned a lengthy questionnaire to the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday in which she wrote that the "role of the judiciary in our system of government is limited. ... And of course, parties should not be able to establish social policy through court action, having failed to persuade the legislative branch or the executive branch of the wisdom and correctness of their preferred course.

"Courts are to be arbiters of disputes, not policymakers."

Congressional officials said Tuesday night the committee probably will seek additional information from Miers.

They said Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., chairman of the panel, intends to announce on Wednesday that confirmation hearings will open the week of Nov. 7 and run for four days. Majority Republicans hope for a final vote in the full Senate by Thanksgiving. These officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to provide details.

Bush nominated Miers three weeks ago to succeed retiring Sandra Day O'Connor, the justice who has cast the pivotal vote in a string of 5-4 rulings in recent years that sustained abortion rights, upheld affirmative action and limited the application of the death penalty. Many Republicans had hoped Bush would pick a prominent conservative with a long record on abortion and other issues rather than a 60-year-old White House counsel whose private law practice consisted almost entirely of representing corporate clients.

As a result, the appointment has created a political landscape unlike any other in the five years of the Bush administration — tepid support at best from conservatives unhappy over a judicial nominee, with Democrats generally content to remain outside the fray rather than interfere in a remarkable round of GOP infighting.

There were some indications during the day that Miers might be gaining ground among Senate Republicans, none of whom has yet to announce plans to oppose confirmation.

Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), who spoke dismissively of Miers shortly after her appointment, told reporters it was "more than likely at some point I'll be satisfied. But I'm not there yet." The Mississippi Republican said his concern resulted from dealings he had with Miers over the summer that led him to question her competence. He declined to elaborate.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (news, bio, voting record), R-Ala., told reporters he thought Miers was making headway among conservatives.

"Grassroots Republicans that I talk to in Alabama feel positive about her," he told reporters. "I might have liked a different type of nominee but that's the president's. He gets to pick that."

At the same time, other Republicans remained decidedly unexcited. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who met with Miers on Tuesday, said afterward he would have preferred "someone who has stood in there and weathered the attacks and criticism from the left on some of these issues."

While the Texans United for Life questionnaire was unsigned and undated, senior Justice Department officials who briefed reporters said Miers herself had included it in material to be turned over to the Judiciary Committee.

The document consisted of 10 questions and asked candidates to indicate agreement or disagreement based on their views.

In each case, Miers indicated she supported the positions taken by the group. That included support of Texas' ratification of any constitutional amendment that cleared Congress banning abortions except where necessary to prevent the death of the mother and support for legislation "if the Supreme Court returns to the states the right to restrict abortion."

Miers also said she would oppose the use of public money for abortion except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother.

In a separate questionnaire completed for the Dallas Eagle Forum in 1989, Miers indicated she would not support any city ordinance requiring property owners and businesses to "provide accommodations to persons with AIDS ... and those perceived to have AIDS."

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