Just saw Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), one of the leading social/religious conservatives in Congress, on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume, on the subject of Harriet Miers. He says he’s still undecided on whether he’ll vote to confirm her. When asked by Hume whether the issue was Miers’s lack of intellectual heft or her judicial philosophy, Brownback said, without hesitation, that it was the latter. He is not certain that Miers is a constitutional originalist; he wants to know how she would rule on abortion and same-sex marriage issues, whether she regards Roe v. Wade as binding precedent, and whether she believes there is a constitutional “right to privacy” in sexual matters as first articulated in Griswold.
Haven’t conservatives, in the past, assailed Democrats for denying confirmation to judicial nominess on the basis of political and judicial ideology? Haven’t they argued that ideology should play no role in judicial confirmation, and that the president should be free to appoint judges based on his own judgment and his own preferences, with excellence the only criterion? (And haven’t liberals taken the position that judicial ideology matters?) Haven’t conservatives been particularly angered by the Democrats’ attempts to find out how Bush nominees will vote on particular issues, decrying such questions as illegitimate?
Or do these standards only apply as long as the nominee is believed to subscribe to conservative ideology?
The Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers suffered another setback on Wednesday when the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her to resubmit parts of her judicial questionnaire, saying various members had found her responses “inadequate,” “insufficient” and “insulting.”
Senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the committee chairman, and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat, sent Ms. Miers a letter faulting what they called incomplete responses about her legal career, her work in the White House, her potential conflicts on cases involving the administration and the suspension of her license by the District of Columbia Bar.