President Bush’s nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers requires close scrutiny by the Senate and straightforward answers by the nominee, said Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way.
“President Bush has nominated his personal lawyer and long-time friend to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. His choice raises serious questions about whether he has found a nominee who has the requisite qualifications and independence for the nation’s highest court. This nomination will require the closest scrutiny by the Senate,” said Neas. “With no past judicial experience for the senators to consider, the burden will be on Miers to be forthright with the Senate and the American people. She must outline her judicial philosophy and provide direct answers to questions about how – and whether – she will uphold fundamental rights, liberties and legal protections on which Americans rely.”
If confirmed, Miers would replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the key vote on many crucial 5-4 decisions on the Supreme Court. Justice O’Connor cast a number of decisive votes protecting the right of privacy, reproductive freedom for women, the constitutional principle of government neutrality toward religion, effective civil rights remedies, environmental protection, congressional authority to protect Americans’ rights and more.
“The stakes could not be higher, and the Senate should proceed with care. There must be no rush to judgment. Poll after poll shows that the American people do not want to see dramatic change on the Supreme Court, and that they value the rights and freedoms that have been guaranteed to them by the Court. Will Harriet Miers uphold these rights, or will she vote to roll back seven decades of legal progress in civil rights and personal freedom?” Neas asked. “We need Supreme Court justices who are committed to equal justice under the law for all, and who will uphold the role of the federal government in preserving those rights and acting to protect the common good. The next several months could determine the law of the land for the next several decades.”