President George W. Bush's decision to make White House counsel Harriet Miers his second Supreme Court nominee is causing some strange friction among lawmakers, with some Republicans unsure about her conservative credentials and some Supreme Court seemingly supporting her.
The mixed signals create some uncertainty about how Miers will be received in the Senate as the Judiciary Committee prepares for another round of confirmation hearings before the end of the year.
With Miers' selection, Bush was looking to satisfy conservatives who helped confirm Chief Justice John Roberts _ without inflaming Democrats who repeatedly warned against the selection of an extreme conservative to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has voted to uphold abortion rights and preserve positive discrimination.
Miers immediately began visiting senators, meeting with Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, all of whom had words of praise for her, the AP reports.
In a round of television interviews Tuesday, White House counselor Dan Bartlett sought to reassure conservatives who have expressed concern that Miers might not be conservative enough for their tastes because she had no strong record on hot-button issues like abortion and gay rights. Bartlett said that Bush had not asked Miers her views on issues like abortion or gay rights. "President Bush thinks it's very important not to impose a litmus test on judicial candidates," Bartlett said on NBC's "Today" show. AM