October 18, 2005

Specter covers for Miers.

CNN reports:
After meeting with Miers on Monday, [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen] Specter twice flatly and unequivocally told reporters that she declared her support for Griswold -- a position likely to upset conservatives already uneasy about her nomination.

"She said she believes there's a right to privacy (in the Constitution)," Specter said. "And she believes Griswold was rightly decided."

Specter, a supporter of abortion rights, said he believed Miers' position on Griswold would be "relevant, not determinative" of her views on Roe.

However, a White House official later disputed Specter's statements.

"She has not discussed specific cases with other senators. Today was no different," said the White House official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the private discussions. "My understanding is Senator Specter is going to correct his comments."

Specter then released a statement that stopped short of a correction:

"In their meeting this afternoon, Sen. Specter thought Ms. Harriet Miers said she agreed with Griswold v. Connecticut and there was a right to privacy in the Constitution. After Sen. Specter commented on that to the news media, Ms. Miers called him to say that he misunderstood her, and that she had not taken a position on Griswold or the privacy issue. Sen. Specter accepts Ms. Miers' statement that he misunderstood what she said."
It worked for John Roberts to affirm the right of privacy but take no position on Roe v. Wade. I assume that those who are prepping Miers to straddle the fence effectively advised her to do exactly the same thing. But the true answer for her is probably: I have never studied the question in the kind of depth I would need to do as a judge. But to say that is to admit how green she is as an interpreter of constitutional law.

Rough times ahead! And if Specter keeps helping her out of a jam it's going to be rather embarrassing.

6 comments:

Paul said...

Sen. Schumer is covering for her on Fox this morning. Sen. Specter covers for her.
What, is happening here?
I still think a deal was done over Judge Roberts and she was part of it.
It appears she will have to wear a white robe and hood to the hearings to lose her seat on The Supreme Court.

Goesh said...

-better to have asked her about High-Tech Clarence's Stay on an abortion case, I think out of Dallas, and the Court's subsequent boxing of his ears, to use a layman's term. "What do you think of high-handed Clarence's recent Stay on on that abortion case, Harriet?" ol' Arlan should have quipped. He was probably trying to look up her dress instead of tending to his job.

Gene C Evans said...

"He was probably trying to look up her dress instead of tending to his job."

Don't you think this is a bit of a low blow? I do not like him either, but this is uncalled for.

Gene

Simon said...

Goesh-
Seems to me that it's entirely appropriate to put a stay on an issue while the court considers, lest the issue be rendered moot.

Beldar said...

Our esteemed host wrote,

"[T]he true answer for her is probably: I have never studied the question in the kind of depth I would need to do as a judge. But to say that is to admit how green she is as an interpreter of constitutional law."

To say this would be to admit that she's neither been a law professor with a particular interest, probably specialty, in constitutional law, nor one of the fairly rare lawyers presenting or judges asked to decide a case of first impression on a con-law/privacy issue. Nobody else studies the question with the same degree of care as would be needed by a judge deciding such a question, unless as a hobby.

Some people think that makes her unqualified. I think that's far too narrow a view of the qualifications that ought to be expected to become a Justice.

What Roberts said about Griswold, very specifically, was that he felt free to discuss it because he thought that there was essentially no chance that its precise question would come up again. (In other words, no state is going to ban contraceptives.) Therefore he need not take seriously the prospect of being asked to overrule it, nor feel proscribed from answering questions about it on grounds that the precise issues it presents are likely to come before him as a judge.

Anyone who thinks John Roberts committed during his confirmation hearings to recognizing a generalized right of privacy extending beyond the specific facts of Griswold wasn't listening very carefully.

Hans Gruber said...

He did not say he bought into the right of privacy in Griswold. I believe he said he thought its outcome was correct, not its reasoning. I believe he said there is a substantive due process justification (not particularly encouarging either).

Also, when he said there is a right to privacy in the Constitution all he did was cite the amendments where privacy in its ordinary sense is protected. He did not endorse sexual privacy rights (Griswold, Roe).