White House Counsel Harriet Miers's supporters are stressing her evangelical Christian faith in urging skeptical conservatives to support her U.S. Supreme Court nomination.
Miers's religious conversion in the late 1970s, as recounted by Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, is being cited by the Bush administration in its drive to reassure conservatives that Miers shares their views on abortion and other social issues. She was picked by Bush to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whose vote has been decisive in upholding abortion rights.
Miers's membership in the non-denominational Valley View Christian Church in Dallas has been mentioned frequently in meetings of Republican activists, according to participants. The Bush administration has been conducting conference calls to line up support for Miers, though participants have only provided sketchy details of those discussions.
“The story of Harriet Miers becoming a Christian for many people is a familiar story,” particularly when it is linked to her growing political conservatism, said Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a Washington-based advocacy group that supports President George W. Bush's judicial nominees, reports Bloomberg.
Senator Charles Schumer is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel that will confirm or reject Ms. Miers' nomination. Senator Schumer voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, complaining about Judge Roberts' refusal to reveal to Senators his personal beliefs on a number of issues, including abortion.
The New York Democrat says he has concerns about President Bush's latest nominee. "So for the second time in a row he's sent us a nominee who we really don't know that much about."
Senator Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat, says she is pleased that President Bush chose a woman for the position. But she says there are still unanswered questions about Ms. Miers. "Now, what her values are, and where she will stand in this very conservative court we don't know, and that's what we have to take a look at," said Senator Feinstein.
But others are praising Ms. Miers' experience, including the Senate leader of the Democratic Party, Harry Reid of Arizona. "But Harriet Miers has served with distinction as a trial lawyer, that's what I am, I'm a trial lawyer,” said Senator Reid. “So anyone with that background makes me feel good," informs VOA.