Some participants in the Oct. 3 conference call fear that they will be called to testify at Ms. Miers's hearings. "If the call is as you describe it, an effort will be made to subpoena everyone on it," a Judiciary Committee staffer told me. It is possible that a tape or notes of the call are already in the hands of committee staffers. "Some people were on speaker phones allowing other people to listen in, and others could have been on extensions," one participant told me.It's one thing to grill Miers about the Roe v. Wade. That's what they did to John Roberts. It's an ordinary ritual that any nominee should have to endure. It's quite another thing to make the October 3 conference call the object of an intense investigation, with the participants subpoenaed and expected to hold up to grilling -- under oath -- about what was said. It seems to me that the decision to do that would be tantamount to an open demand that the nomination be withdrawn.
Should hearings begin on Nov. 7 as is now tentatively planned, they would likely turn into a spectacle. Mr. Specter has said he plans to press Ms. Miers "very hard" on whether Roe v. Wade is settled law. "She will have hearings like no nominee has ever had to sit through," Chuck Todd, editor of the political tip sheet Hotline, told radio host John Batchelor. "One slipup on camera and she is toast."...
Should she survive the hearings, liberal groups may demand that Democrats filibuster her. Republican senators, already hesitant to back Ms. Miers after heavy blowback from their conservative base, would likely lack the will to trigger the so-called nuclear option. "The nomination is in real trouble," one GOP senator told me. "Not one senator wants to go through the agony of those hearings, even those who want to vote for her." Even if Ms. Miers avoids a filibuster, it's possible Democrats would join with dissident Republicans to defeat her outright.
October 17, 2005
John Fund writes in the Wall Street Journal about the behind-the-scenes assurances the White House gave pro-life conservatives about Harriet Miers. Will the confirmation hearing delve into the October 3 conference call?