Harriet Miers Touched on Abortion, Judicial Activism in 1990s Speech

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Harriet Miers Touched on Abortion, Judicial Activism in 1990s Speech Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 25, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Despite a survey she completed for a Texas pro-life group showing her in support of a constitutional amendment banning most abortions, Harriet Miers has failed to overcome the skepticism some pro-life advocates have about her stance on abortion. The release of two speeches she gave that touch on the subject may not help her.

The Washington Post, today, unveiled two speeches Miers gave in the early 1990s as the president of the Texas Bar Association.

In her remarks to a Dallas women’s executives group, Miers comments on the increasing role courts are playing in social and religious issues like abortion.

"The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual women’s [sic] right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion," Miers observed.

Miers added that "self-determination" should guide court decisions these, in cases where science and religious moral views collide, "government should not act."

"The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination," she said. "And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense."

"Legislating religion or morality we gave up on a long time ago," Miers said.

Miers also touched on judicial activism and the reluctance of some lawmakers to deal with tough questions about key issues.

Miers said that sometimes "officials would rather abandon to the courts the hard questions so they can respond to constituents: I did not want to do that — the court is making me."

One pro-life advocate said the speeches will likely add to the concern about where Miers stands on abortion.

"This is going to be very disturbing to conservatives because I think it shows that she is a judicial activist," Mathew Staver, president and general counsel for the Liberty Counsel, a pro-life law firm, told the Post. "This concept of self-determination could clearly be read in support for things like abortion … and it’s a philosophy that cuts a judge loose from the Constitution."

But White House spokesman Jim Dyke said the speeches are "entirely consistent" with a conservative view of judicial restraint.

The Senate Judiciary Committee received the speeches from Miers this week as it seeks to compile information about her in advance of hearings, which begin November 7.