Miers Nomination Raises Important Questions for Women
October 14, 2005
George W. Bush's nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court raises important questions for women's rights supporters. While we are pleased that Bush chose a woman for the High Court, her judicial philosophy is more important than her gender. Much important information about Miers remains unknown at this point.
What we do know about Miers is that she is a Bush loyalist, having worked closely with him since at least 1993. With this nomination, Bush has raised to new heights his fondness for promoting close confidantes, like Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales, to top positions.
If confirmed, Miers would fill the seat of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the key swing vote to preserve the basic protections of Roe v. Wade, to require a health exception to state-level abortion restrictions, to allow affirmative action in college admissions, and to protect Title IX's promise of equal educational opportunities for women and girls, among many others.
After careful consideration of O'Connor's record and judicial philosophy, NOW testified in support of her confirmation in 1981. While she was a conservative, O'Connor did support basic human rights and liberties that transcend the often rigid labels of "liberal" or "conservative."
It remains to be seen where Miers stands on those and virtually every other issue, with the exception of abortion, which she is reported to "vehemently" oppose. She has no paper trail and has never served as a judge—quite simply, much of her future conduct on the Court may be impossible to determine. Should the Senate confirm someone to a lifetime appointment with so little information? We think not. NOW urges the Senate to ask tough questions, insist on answers, and refuse to confirm this nomination unless they can establish that Miers will vote to support the fundamental rights of women.
NOW President Kim Gandy warns: "The future of women and girls are on the line; too much is at stake to confirm a stealth nominee to the Court."
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