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The Gross National Debt

Sunday, October 16, 2005

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos, My Left Wing and Booman Tribune)

First a disclaimer. It is pretty much assumed that Bush cannot hand me a SCOTUS nominee with whom I will be happy. Therefore, it's imperative, for me, to try to get someone who doesn't make my skin crawl.

Having said that, I'm torn on Miers. I've seen all of the speculative arguments about whether or not she is a raging far-right evangelical wingnut and then further speculative argument about why she is not a raging far-right evangelical wingnut.

So I took a time-consuming approach. I researched public statements made by Republican Senators and the Independent Senator from Vermont in a effort to get a feel for which way the wind was blowing. Upon reading their statements, I cam up with the following regarding the Miers nomination (purely subjective): Opposed, Neutral and Favorable. Unknown was assigned if I simply couldn't find a public statement by a Senator. Below the fold is my analysis of these statements and perhaps some conjecture as to what it all means.

I have to admit that it was my grandmother who has made me step back and take a second look. No, not because she called me with some inside information on Miers that caused me to raise an eyebrow. Rather, my 86 year old grandmother is a Limbaugh-listening Texas Republican. I don't think she has ever voted for a Democrat in her life. She is also a bona-fide Church-going Christian, so much so that her social events are church-related and she attends not only services but Bible study and Sunday school as well. I've been with her to her church - I wouldn't say, generally, that it's a choice-loving crowd. Yet my Grandmother is adamantly pro-choice - always has been. She hasn't succumbed to her church or her friends or talk radio or her party in her choice/life position. So I started thinking about that in the context of Harriet Miers and at least came back to a middling position as to whether or not being an evangelical guarantees that she is pro-life (and yes, pro-choice vs. pro-life is THE issue for me in this nomination - I realize that there are other important issues but this one's a dealbreaker for me in the SCOTUS).

But that's not enough - so call what follows my attempt to read the tea leaves. Here's a high level summary:

Republican and Independent Senators

Faovrable: 18
Neutral: 28
Opposed: 2
Unknown: 8

What follows is a list, alphabetically by state, of Senators, public comments they have made on the Miers nomination (if any), and my assessment of their favor/oppose/neutral status:

Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

"My conversations with Harriet Miers indicate that she is a first-rate lawyer and a fine person. Her legal skills are proven and her reputation throughout the legal community is excellent. It is not necessary that she have previous experience as a judge in order to serve on the Supreme Court. It's perfectly acceptable to nominate outstanding lawyers to that position. I look forward to the confirmation process and to learning more about her judicial philosophy."

Assessment: Neutral

Richard Shelby (R-AL)

"I am pleased with President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court. I intend to carefully review her judicial philosophy and qualifications for this important position. I believe it is imperative that the Senate continue to confirm judges who will interpret the Constitution and the law without prejudice and with the utmost respect for the rule of law."

Assessment: Neutral

Lisa Murkowsky (R-AK)

"On the first day of the new Supreme Court session, with a new Chief Justice confirmed, I'm pleased that we have received the nomination of Harriet Miers so that we may quickly begin the confirmation process and fill the remaining Court vacancy. I'm also pleased that the President has nominated a woman to fill the vacancy left by Sandra Day O'Connor. I look forward to the confirmation process, learning more about Harriet Miers and working with my colleagues to ensure a fair and thorough hearing, a civil and dignified debate on the Senate floor followed by an up or down vote on Harriet Miers nomination. The Senate moved quickly and fairly during the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and I expect the same during this next round of hearings."

Assessment: Neutral

Ted Stevens (R-AK)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

John Kyl (R-AZ)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

John McCain (R-AZ)

"I commend the President for his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court of the United States. Over the course of thirty years, Ms. Miers has accumulated vast experience as a legal practitioner, led her peers as the head of state and local bar associations, and worked tirelessly as a dedicated public servant. Her record is one of deep commitment to the law and service to our nation. If the Senate confirms Ms. Miers, she will be only the third woman to have served on the highest court of our nation. Her accomplishments demonstrate that the distinction would be well deserved. I trust that Ms. Miers will have a smooth confirmation process and receive a swift up-or-down vote in the Senate."

Assessment: Favorable

Wayne Allard (R-CO)

"I am pleased the President has moved swiftly to nominate an Associate Justice. I have a high regard for Harriet Miers and enjoyed working with her on several occasions in her capacity as legal counsel to the President. But I do have questions regarding her legal background on issues important to the West, issues such as water law and public land policy, which I outlined to President Bush when Justice O'Connor announced her retirement.

"I plan to meet personally with the nominee soon to discuss her approach to Western issues, which have not arisen during my earlier dealings with her."

Assessment: Neutral

Mel Martinez (R-FL)

"I have been impressed with Harriet Miers in my dealings with her in the Administration. She is a woman of great intellect and integrity. Her professional experience as a practicing attorney and her long record of community involvement will serve her well in deciding cases of national significance. Ms. Miers has served in more than a dozen community organizations including the Young Women's Christian Association, Goodwill Industries, and the Legal Aid Society. She has been a trailblazer for women throughout her professional and private life and continues in that role with her nomination to the United States Supreme Court.

"I view Ms. Miers' non-judicial experience as an asset that will add to our nation's highest court in the same spirit as former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. In the words of President Bush, `A Justice must strictly apply the Constitution and laws of the United States, and not legislate from the bench.' I look forward to that in Ms. Miers."

Assessment: Favorable

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

"I am confident that President Bush has stood by his commitment to appoint conservatives to the bench. I look forward to hearing her testimony throughout the Senate confirmation process where the philosophy of Ms. Miers will be thoroughly examined."

Assessment: Favorable

Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

"I am delighted President Bush has nominated a woman to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. I look forward to meeting Ms. Miers and to listening to her testimony during the confirmation hearings.

I look forward to considering the President's nominee deliberatively, fairly and expeditiously. I will not apply any kind of litmus test for Ms. Miers, and I expect the Senate to treat her with respect and dignity during the confirmation process.

Every judge nominated by this president - or any president - deserves an up or down vote, one way or another. It is the responsibility of the Senate. It is the direction of the Constitution."

Assessment: Neutral

Larry Craig (R-ID)

"Harriet Miers is an impressive legal talent with a reputation for hard work. I look forward to learning more about her and her judicial philosophy, and I commend the President for bringing this nomination forward quickly.

While rumors of a Democrat filibuster began before Ms. Miers was even nominated, I'm hopeful that all Senators will give her full and fair consideration before deciding whether or not to confirm her."

Assessment: Neutral

Michael Crapo (R-ID)

"The President has put forth a good nomination with Miers," Crapo said. "With the depth of her legal background and accomplishments, I expect that the Judiciary Committee will again be able to lead a fair and expeditious inquiry into her nomination. So far, I've been impressed by the information I've reviewed in regards to this nomination and I look forward to meeting with and learning more about Miers. I am hopeful and optimistic that she will also receive bipartisan support from the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate Floor."

Assessment: Favorable

Richard Lugar (R-IN)

A Lugar spokesman says the senator is looking forward to "a swift and thorough confirmation process."

Assessment: Neutral

Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), an Iowa Republican, emerged from his meeting with Miers, saying he wanted to know more about the nominee before saying whether he would vote for her.

Asked if he expected her to be confirmed, Grassley said, "It's probably too early to tell ... But if other people hear what I heard in the 45 minutes I spent with her ... I think that they would be satisfied that the president has met his commitment" to nominate a strict constructionist.

Assessment: Neutral

Sam Brownback (R-KS)

"I congratulate Harriet Miers on her nomination to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and I look forward to learning at her confirmation hearing whether she possesses a firm commitment to the Framers' Constitution and to the rule of law," Brownback stated. "I am hopeful that Ms. Miers will be, as President Bush promised, a qualified nominee in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas who will strictly interpret the law and will not create law."

"I have said in the past that I would like a nominee with a proven track record on important issues to all Americans and whose judicial philosophy is well-formed. I am not yet confident that Ms. Miers has a proven track record and I look forward to having these questions answered. President Bush has a long-standing working relationship with Ms. Miers and I trust the President knows her heart and her mind. Even so, the confirmation process has just begun and questions about her views on the Constitution need to be answered. As President Bush and President Reagan have commented in the past, in this regard I feel we must trust but verify."

Assessment: Oppose

Pat Roberts (R-KS)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Jim Bunning (R-KY)

"I dealt with Harriet Miers in her position as White House Counsel during the appointment process of some of our federal judicial vacancies in Kentucky. I look forward to learning more about her background and I hope the Senate moves on her nomination in a fair and respectful manner."

Assessment: Neutral

Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

"Harriet Miers has an exemplary record of service. Moreover, I agree with her belief that the proper role of a judge is to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution, not legislate from the bench. I commend the President for his choice and look forward to Ms. Miers confirmation."

Assessment: Favorable

David Vitter (R-LA)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Susan Collins (R-ME)

"From talking with people who know Harriet Miers, I understand that she has a remarkable work ethic and was very well-respected as an attorney when she was in private practice. I am intrigued by the idea of having someone with significant experience in private practice as well as government join the Court because such as person can bring a fresh and practical perspective to the Court's decision-making process.

"I look forward to meeting with Ms. Miers, and I will be watching the confirmation hearings carefully so that I can gain an understanding of her views and her judicial philosophy. "

Assessment: Neutral

Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

"With the President nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the Senate once again takes up its `consent' role as expressed under the `advice and consent' clause of the Constitution.

"I commend the President for embracing the spirit of diversity by nominating a woman to replace Justice O'Connor, the first woman to occupy a seat on the nation's highest Court of the land. I also applaud his efforts to reach out to Senators from both sides of the political aisle leading up to this nomination.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee must be allowed to thoroughly, thoughtfully, and independently evaluate her qualifications, and under Chairman Specter's leadership I am confident that will occur.

"As a United States Senator, I take my role in the process of approving a Supreme Court nominee very seriously and will extensively review Harriet Miers' record and the Judiciary Committee's hearings and proceedings. I believe that any Supreme Court nominee should bring a balanced approach to cases, possess a strong intellect and suitable judicial temperament, and follow a disciplined judicial methodology in reaching decisions.

"I will be in close contact with my colleagues, especially with our group of fourteen senators who developed the compromise to forestall a filibuster on recent judicial nominees as the Senate begins consideration of this nomination."

Assessment: Neutral

Norm Coleman (R-MN)

"I am pleased that President Bush has moved quickly to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The President's decision to nominate a woman to the court is praiseworthy and sends a very important message to all of America. It is my intention to withhold judgment on this nominee as we continue to get a better sense of her qualifications as the confirmation process moves forward."

Assessment: Neutral

Thad Cochran (R-MS)

"President Bush has again nominated a well-qualified nominee for the United States Supreme Court. Harriet Miers' experience in private legal practice, public service and counsel to the president will bring valuable diversity to the court. I look forward to the Senate's consideration of this nominee."

Assessment: Favorable

Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I don't know her. But, I'm going to give her nomination consideration."

Assessment: Neutral

Christopher Bond (R-MO)

"Throughout her career, Harriet Miers has distinguished herself both in the legal field and within the highest levels of government. As the first woman to serve as President of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association, Ms. Miers has a reputation as a hard-working, skilled lawyer who has a record of repeatedly breaking new ground for female lawyers within the legal profession. In her position as Counsel to the President, Ms. Miers has addressed a wide variety of critical legal issues facing our nation and is well-qualified to serve on the nation's highest court. As the nomination process moves forward, it is my hope that Ms. Miers is afforded a dignified, fair and objective consideration followed by a simple majority vote on the Senate floor."

Assessment: Favorable

James Talent (R-MO)

"The President nominated a person he believes has the integrity, legal judgment and record of accomplishment to serve on the nation's highest court. Harriet Miers has had a distinguished legal career and much of her professional life has been dedicated to public service.

"I've always said I would support the President's Supreme Court nominee provided the person is honest, has a strong record of accomplishment and applies a consistent jurisprudence. Her record needs to be thoroughly vetted during the confirmation process, but Harriet Miers appears to be another outstanding nominee.

"To the Senate's credit, the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts was handled with respect and civility. My hope is that the Senate will treat Harriet Miers in the same way, avoiding personal attacks during the confirmation process."

Assessment: Favorable

Conrad Burns (R-MT)

"We [Burns and Miers] had an extremely positive meeting this morning," said Burns. "Ms. Miers has a great sense of humor and a great understanding of the importance of the legal arena in our nation. I was happy to have the opportunity to sit down with her today and discuss many of the issues important to my state of Montana, especially with respect to private property rights and natural resources, and I believe she has a great understanding of western values which is a good thing in my book. I am confident we will learn a great deal more about Ms. Miers in the coming weeks as the Judiciary Committee holds confirmation hearings, and I look forward to this next step in the confirmation process."

Assessment: Favorable

Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

"President Bush has chosen someone he trusts and who has a record of accomplishment. I look forward to learning more about her as the confirmation process moves forward," Hagel said.

Assessment: Neutral

John Ensign (R-NV)

Senator John Ensign is keeping mum on whether he shares fellow conservatives' concerns about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers.

Ensign spokesman Jack Finn says the Nevada Republican wants to know more about Miers' qualifications before deciding whether to support her nomination.

Assessment: Neutral

Judd Gregg (R-NH)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

John Sununu (R-NH)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Pete Domenici (R-NM)

"While I don't know Harriet Miers personally, based on what I have heard and read about her legal career, I believe she is a very competent attorney who is dedicated to the legal profession. I look forward to her confirmation hearings, where she will have the opportunity to demonstrate why President Bush chose her to serve on the Supreme Court."

Assessment: Neutral

Richard Burr (R-NC)

"I welcome President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. As the confirmation process begins, I will carefully review Ms. Miers' qualifications and I look forward to meeting with her personally."

Assessment: Neutral

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)

"As the nomination process moves ahead, I look forward to reviewing Ms. Miers' qualifications and her views on the proper role of the federal judiciary. I am hopeful that the confirmation process will be both fair and civil."

Assessment: Neutral

MIke DeWine (R-OH)

"As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I take very seriously the Senate's role in providing advice and consent with regard to a President's nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States and I look forward to our hearings on her nomination. I hope and anticipate that Ms. Miers will be treated with the same decency and respect that the Committee extended to Chief Justice Roberts.

"Ms. Miers has been a trailblazer for women in the legal profession. She was the first woman hired at a large Dallas law firm, the first woman elected president of that firm, and the first woman elected president of the Texas Bar Association. She has the kind of real-world, practical experience that I believe is important for our justices to have. I have been impressed with my interactions with her while she has served as President Bush's White House Counsel."

Assessment: Favorable

George Voinovich (R-OH)

"During the confirmation process for Chief Justice John Roberts, I had several conversations with Ms. Miers and I found her to be a very impressive yet unassuming person. I was pleased that the President again consulted with members of the Senate before making this nomination and hope that will make for a smooth confirmation process. Although I like Ms. Miers very much personally, I know nothing about her legal background and I am looking forward to finding out more information about her. I hope her confirmation hearings will be conducted with the same speed and fairness as the hearings for now Chief Justice Roberts were conducted."

Assessment: Neutral

Tom Coburn (R-OK)

"Harriet Miers deserves a fair and thorough hearing and confirmation process. I look forward to learning more about her qualifications and judicial philosophy in the coming days," Dr. Coburn said, adding that he plans to meet with Miers this week.

Assessment: Neutral

James Inhofe (R-OK)

"The United States Senate has recently demonstrated its commitment to fair and dignified confirmation proceedings and I hope that Harriet Miers' nomination will receive the same treatment. Harriet Miers is an accomplished member of the legal community and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure a fair and thorough review process."

"The American people need highly qualified, fair-minded and independent judges who are committed to strictly interpreting the Constitution. I intend to carefully review Harriet Miers credentials to assess her qualifications and commitment to the rule of law."

Assessment: Neutral

Gordon Smith (R-OR)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"My feeling on the nominee is I don't know much about her,"

Assessment: Neutral

Arlen Specter (R-PA)

"If there are backroom assurances and 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."

Assessment: Neutral

Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)

"I congratulate the President on his efforts to consult the Senate prior to this nomination. The President has made his selection and now we must let the Senate process take its course. This is a critical vacancy. We owe it to the American people to conduct ourselves with the dignity and objectivity this process demands."

Assessment: Favorable

Jim DeMint (R-SC)

"Ms. Miers has a long and distinguished career as one of the foremost lawyers in the country. I'm hopeful she will demonstrate that she is well qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and that she will strictly interpret the Constitution and laws of the United States, without legislating from the bench.

"Ms. Miers would bring a wealth of personal experience to the Supreme Court. I expect she will show that she has the intelligence, fairness, and open-mindedness needed to serve on the Court.

"The Senate has an important duty ahead. The Supreme Court of the United States is the custodian of our Constitution. Justices of the Supreme Court must not only be jurists of the highest competence, they must be attentive to the proper role of the courts in our democratic system.

"I was disappointed so many Democrats voted against Chief Justice Roberts. They proved that no matter how qualified the nominee, they will reject anyone put forward by this President. Democrats must remember that the American people elected President Bush because they agree with his view that judges should not legislate from the bench.

"I hope they will resist the temptation to attack Ms. Miers unfairly. Like all judicial nominees, she deserves a fair hearing, an honest debate, and a timely up-or-down vote."

Assessment: Favorable

Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

"President Bush has made a solid pick for the Supreme Court.

"Harriet Miers has been in the legal trenches throughout her career and has a tremendous understanding of how the law works in people's everyday lives. Her legal experience combined with her life experience makes her a solid choice.

"I hope for and anticipate a smooth confirmation process with a significant bipartisan vote in support. In my opinion, there will be no filibuster as she is a mainstream conservative who will be a strict constructionist on the Supreme Court.

"I expect the liberal left to make demands upon the Administration to produce information protected by attorney-client privilege. Efforts such as these to derail a qualified nominee like Miers should fail."

Assessment: Favorable

John Thune (R-SD)

"The nomination and confirmation process of Judge Roberts was a fine example of the Senate performing its Constitutional responsibility of advice and consent. Just as Judge Roberts received a fair up-or-down vote after a thorough examination by both Republicans and Democrats, I expect the same treatment for Harriet Miers. However, I will reserve judgment on this nominee until the Senate studies her qualifications. It has been my expectation that President Bush would nominate someone in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas and it is my hope that Harriet Miers will prove to be such a person."

Assessment: Oppose

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

"Harriet Miers has a strong background in the practice of the law. She is respected by members of the United States Senate. We in the Senate now have a responsibility to hold a full and fair hearing and then promptly conduct an up or down vote."

Assessment: Neutral

Bill Frist (R-TN)

"This morning, after a bipartisan and inclusive consultation process, President Bush nominated Harriet Miers as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. With this selection, the president has chosen another outstanding nominee to sit on our nation's highest court.

"Ms. Miers is honest and hard working and understands the importance of judicial restraint and the limited role of a judge to interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. She has extensive legal experience ranging from private practice to Counsel to the President and was the first woman to serve as president of the Dallas Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas."

"As we begin the confirmation process, I hope the Senate continues to move beyond the partisan obstructionism of the recent past. I hope we carry forward the lessons learned from Chief Justice Roberts' nomination. A bipartisan majority of senators agreed that judges are not politicians and should not campaign for office. A bipartisan majority of senators also agreed that senators can make an informed decision on the fitness of a judicial nominee by focusing on the individual's qualifications and not her political ideology and by looking at the individual's record, testimony, and writings, without probing into confidential and privileged documents. Finally, a bipartisan majority of senators agreed that we should not ask or expect nominees to compromise their judicial independence by pre-judging cases or issues that may come before the court.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure a fair and thoughtful hearing, a civil and dignified debate on the Senate floor followed by an up or down vote on Harriet Miers' nomination by Thanksgiving.

"I congratulate Ms. Miers on her nomination to the Supreme Court, and look forward to welcoming her to the Senate later today."

Assessment: Favorable

John Cornyn (R-TX)

"The President has announced his nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court of the United States: Harriet Miers, currently serving as White House Counsel. As he did with Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., the President has chosen an outstanding nominee for our nation's highest court. The Senate should consider this nomination in both a thorough and expedient manner.

"Harriet Miers is a brilliant legal mind. She is a woman of outstanding character who clearly understands what it means to follow the law. She is deeply committed to public service, and has a distinguished history of professional achievement. It is clear that her past experiences have well prepared her for the honor of serving our country as a Supreme Court Justice. I strongly support her nomination.

"It is important that we put aside partisanship, and that the Senate fulfill its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent. This fine nominee must be treated with civility and respect, not as a political pawn. I hope that we in the Senate can move forward in a manner worthy of the American people."

Assessment: Favorable

Kay Baily Hutchinson (R-TX)

"President Bush has made a wise choice in his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I spoke with Harriet this morning. Harriet Miers is known throughout the legal community for her wisdom and integrity. I believe she will make an extraordinary justice. She was a trailblazer in the legal community and will bring a much-needed gender and geographical balance to the high court. Notably, like William Rehnquist, Harriet has been a practicing lawyer most of her career. This experience, too, brings a balance to the court. I look forward to helping Harriet Miers through a fair Senate process after which I am confident she will be confirmed."

Assessment: Favorable

Robert Bennett (R-UT)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

"Harriett Miers will bring diversity and depth to the Court," Hatch said. "She has broad professional experience that will provide a fresh perspective from outside the insular walls of the judiciary. As White House Counsel, she has been overseeing the process of choosing judges who will interpret, but not make, the law. Throughout her life, she has been dedicated to the law and has always set an example of integrity, accomplishment and service. It's important that we don't prejudge the nominee; I hope the Senate again shows the American people that we can conduct a dignified and thorough confirmation process."

Assessment: Favorable

Jim Jeffords (I-VT)

"President Bush today nominated Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and I look forward to reviewing her record and her qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice O'Connor is a steadfast supporter of constitutional rights, and Ms. Miers must prove that she will continue in this fine tradition. Given her lack of a judicial record, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings will be critical to learn more about how Ms. Miers will approach the law as a Supreme Court justice."

Assessment: Neutral

George Allen, Jr. (R-VA)

"While Ms. Miers has not previously served as a judge, legal expertise, wisdom and fairness are not traits exclusive to those currently on the bench. President Bush has an outstanding track record of nominating fair-minded men and women who fairly adjudicate cases based upon the Constitution and the law and do not superimpose their personal views to amend the Constitution by judicial decree.

"I look forward to learning more about Ms. Miers' qualifications and discerning her judicial philosophy in the weeks ahead. I trust that Senators from both parties will conduct themselves with dignity and that this nomination process will be a fair one ending ultimately with an up or down vote."

Assessment: Neutral

John Warner (R-VA)

"I have had the privilege of working with Harriet Miers over the years, and I have the highest respect for her professional knowledge and standards. This nomination is another home run by the President."

Assessment: Favorable

Michael Enzi (R-WY)

"With the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts this Senate showed it could treat a nominee from President Bush with dignity and fairness and that we could complete the appointment in a reasonable amount of time. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are ready to deliver a repeat performance of the process with the nomination of Harriet Miers.

"I'm sure many of us will monitor the proceedings and as we do we need to keep in mind that judges are not elected officials. Supreme Court justices are not chosen by voters and the people are not their constituents. If that were the case, our confidence in an impartial hearing and ruling on cases would collapse. A Supreme Court justice's only constituent should be the United States Constitution. We need to know that judges will not make promises to prejudge future cases in order to win votes.

"The President picked a nominee from his home state and she has worked closely with him for years. I have not had the pleasure of working as closely with her, but I will closely review her qualifications and observe and learn from her confirmation hearing. The Senate has the duty to give its advice and consent to the President's nomination and as a senator I am aware of my serious responsibility."

Assessment: Neutral

Craig Thomas (R-WY)

"My only involvement with Harriet has been in her capacity as a senior adviser to the President, so I'm anxious to learn more about her legal qualifications and fitness to serve on the Court."

"She'll have much to prove in the coming weeks ahead."

Assessment: Neutral

Now let's look at the Republicans who were members of the "Gang of 14" who averted a nuclear showdown in July of this year:

Gang of 14 Republicans:

McCain: Favorable
Graham: Favorable
DeWine: Favorable
Warner: Favorable
Chafee: Favorable
Snowe: Neutral
Collins: Neutral

Of the two Republicans on that list, DeWine and Chafee are facing tough re-election bids in 2006.

The arch-conservative Senators tell a mixed story:

Arch-Conservative Republicans:

Brownback: Oppose
Sessions: Neutral
Coburn: Neutral
Thune: Oppose
Santorum: Neutral

(Yes, I realize there are likely more than this - please add yours in the comments and I'll append)

I almost excluded Santorum from the list - he's in such a political pickle these days that all of his rhetoric has been seriously dialed back.

And finally, the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee:

Judiciary Committee Republicans:

Hatch: Favorable
Grassley: Neutral
Kyl: Unknown
DeWine: Favorable
Sessions: Neutral
Graham: Favorable
Cornyn: Favorable
Brownback: Oppose
Coburn: Neutral

I don't know where Kyl is going to come down on this - I simply have no appreciate as to how owned he is by the religious right. I'm also not surprised by Cornyn - he is, of course, from Texas, Miers' state. Suffice it to say that there's room even in the Judiciary Committee (Specter, Brownback and Coburn) for this nomination to fail to achieve recommendation.

In researching this I also found this article from October 5, 2005 indicating that the 'Gang of 14' have met on the Miers nomination.

So what does it mean? Well, first, I think there is plenty of room in the Neutral category that makes this nomination far from a done deal. Interestingly, some of the farthest-right wingnuts fall into the Neutral column. My only two Republican "Opposes" are screaming wingnuts.

All this analysis equates to PHOG - Prophecy, Hearsay, Opinion and Guesswork - I freely admit that. But the statements by Senator are there for each of you to look at and analyze as you see fit. I will say that the only hesitancy I have as to Miers' wingnut-status is that she is opposed by Brownback and Thune. Hardly enough to hang my hat on when she has been endorsed by Robertson and Dobson.

So, after hours of work, I find I'm still confused.

What do you think?

posted by RenaRF at 3:01 PM 4 comments links to this post


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