Respublicans toned down their criticism of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet E. Miers after the White House released documents showing she once supported an anti-abortion amendment to the Constitution.
While outside conservative groups continue to attack Miers as unqualified, some senators are offering encouragement to President George W. Bush's choice to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The administration this week stepped up its campaign to win support for Miers, shifting attention to her experience and qualifications and playing down her Christian evangelical faith.
"She is providing the right sort of answers in terms of what kind of judge should be on the court," said South Dakota Republican John Thune. Miers's responses to a Senate questionnaire are giving him "more of a comfort level" about her judicial philosophy, he told reporters yesterday in Washington.
Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2008, said he is encouraged. Two weeks ago, he said there was a "good chance" he would vote against her if she said she accepted the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling as settled law.
Miers's Senate questionnaire "does give me a little better indication where her own personal thought process is," he said yesterday. "That's another piece of the portrait.," reports Bloomberg.
Since she was nominated by President Bush just more than two weeks ago to fill the seat of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Miers has been rocked by criticism from conservatives, including many vocal supporters of the president, who question her qualifications and ideological commitment.
Until now, Democrats and their activist allies have refused to interfere in the conservative brawl. The Texas Right to Life questionnaire ended that.
Feinstein said she believes Miers' answers show she would vote to overturn Roe.
The questionnaire "clearly indicates that for a substantial period of time she has held a very strong view, and the question is obviously whether she can be open and unbiased," Feinstein said. "It takes a very strong position, and as far as a woman's right to choose, a negative position. That was 1989, but it is in writing, and therefore I think it is very relevant. She has to either say that is my position or that isn't my position."
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said he is "encouraged and have been by a number of things we've heard that she's at least sensitive to the idea that an unborn child is a human being," informs SF Gate.