Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Clues about Miers' views in 1990s speeches


Clues about Miers' views in 1990s speeches: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, in speeches a decade ago, said "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and also defended social activism, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The speeches, which she provided to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, offer some of the clearest insights yet into Miers' thinking on contentious social issues that could come before the Supreme Court, the newspaper said.

Miers talked about abortion, the separation of church and state, and how the issues play out in the legal system in a 1993 speech to a Dallas women's group, the newspaper said.

"The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination," Miers said in an excerpt reported by the Post. "And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense."

In speeches delivered when she was president of the Texas bar association, Miers also defended judges who order lawmakers to address social concerns, the newspaper said.

Miers also showed sympathy for feminist causes, referring to the "glass ceiling" faced by professional women and urged her audience to support female candidates, according to the report.

Miers is a veteran attorney, who was President George W. Bush's personal attorney in Texas before coming to the White House. She has never served as a judge and does not have a clear paper-trail.

Bush, citing confidentially, said this week that he would refuse to release documents showing what Miers recommended to him as a White House lawyer. The documents were sought by senators preparing for her confirmation hearing set to begin November 7.

Miers has come under fire from Democrats for once backing a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, and has been challenged by conservative Republicans who fear she lacks the clout and commitment to firmly move the court to the right on abortion and other issues.