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Senate must ask Miers about more than 'Roe'

Oct. 6, 2005

EDITORIAL STAFF

Maybe it's just because of today's bitter political climate, but it seems like the Senate has been a little near-sighted in questioning the last two Supreme Court nominees.

Instead of focusing on broad questions of qualification, many Senators focused on whether new Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would vote to overturn landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. Some tried to veil the question by asking his opinions about the right to privacy.

The Senate has to avoid doing that with President Bush's most recent Supreme Court nominee, White House counsel Harriet Miers.

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Ben Hemeniuk | Lariat staff
In the next few weeks and months, the Supreme Court will hear cases on some of the most important issues facing America today, including assisted suicide, states' rights, the death penalty and whether "under God" should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance.

There are more serious concerns about Miers as a justice than simply whether she'll rule to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Some have questioned whether she has the experience necessary to be a Supreme Court justice, since she's never held a judge position.

But neither had the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

The real concern is President Bush's explanation -- or lack thereof -- for why she should be a justice. All he's really said is that he's known her for years and we should trust his judgment.

Whereas Roberts' record was fuzzy, Miers' record is a virtual unknown. Critics on both ends of the political spectrum have criticized Bush's decision.

In fact, William Kristol, the conservative editor of the Washington political magazine The Weekly Standard, went so far as to say he was "disappointed, depressed and demoralized" about the nomination.

Miers is looking to replace swing vote Sandra Day O'Connor, making her position one of the most crucial on the high court.

The public deserves to know her qualifications beyond simply whether she supports abortion, even though it's a pressing issue. What the public deserves to know is whether she's qualified to vote on our personal freedoms.