Senate Judiciary Chair Questions Harriet Miers Abortion Talk

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Judiciary Chair Questions Harriet Miers Abortion Talk Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 10, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is questioning the Bush administration’s attempts to shore up support for Harriet Miers’ Supreme Court nomination with pro-life advocates. Sen. Arlen Specter is worried that Bush officials may have told pro-life leaders Miers would vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision to garner their support.

Shortly after the president named Miers to replace outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Bush administration officials began working the phones to top pro-life advocates to assure them Miers is pro-life and deserving of their support.

Specter is concerned some sort of assurance or under-the-table deal was arranged in the process.

"If there are backroom deals, and if there is something which bears upon a precondition as to how a nominee is going to vote, I think that’s a matter that ought to be known by the Judiciary Committee and the American people," Specter said Sunday on ABC’s "This Week" program.

AT issue is a statement made by Focus on the Family founder and president Dr. James Dobson. On his national radio program last week, Dobson endorsed Miers for the high court position and told his listeners he had some additional information that made him comfortable with her selection.

"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 said.

Dobson said he had had conversations with White House officials, including chief advisor Karl Rove.

Allen Abney, a spokesman for the White House, told Bloomberg News that there was no foul play in any conversations between White House officials and key pro-life leaders.

"At no point did anyone ask, or Mr. Rove offer, any insights on how Harriet Miers would vote on any particular case that may come before the Supreme Court,” Abney told Bloomberg News.

Neither Specter nor top judiciary panel Democrat Pat Leahy plan to subpoena Dobson to question him about the phone calls or to ask him to testify at the hearings, which are slated to begin in November.

However, Specter said he wanted to pursue the matter further.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee is entitled to know whatever the White House knew,” Specter told ABC News. "If Dr. Dobson knows something that he shouldn’t know or something that I ought to know, I’m going to find out.”

Leahy told the ABC program that Miers told him she had no given any assurances either to the president or anyone else about how she would vote on upcoming cases regarding abortion.