Religious Test for Harriet Miers
With no judicial opinions to examine, supporters of the Harriet Miers find themselves arguing for the nomination on religious grounds -- not always comfortably and in sharp contrast to the debate over John G. Roberts.
Prominent conservative James Dobson of the evangelical organization Focus on the Family is one of a number who support Miers at the behest of the president in part because of Bush's assurances that she is a devoted evangelical.
Liberal E.J. Dionne is quick to note that there is an element of hypocrisy to the conservatives' newfound appreciation for the religious beliefs of the nominee, since many Republicans argued strenously against bringing up Roberts religion during the Chief Justice's nomination battle.
John Dickerson writes in Slate about how the Miers nomination has made the rift between the religious right and the secular-intellectual right all the more obvious.
And there are clearly some on the right who are uncomfortable with bringing Miers's religion into the mix.
Kate O'Beirne of the National Review gets right to the crux of the issue on Meet the Press:
"Because Harriet Miers doesn't have [well-understood views on the Constitution], surrogates of the White House are pointing to her personal opinions, which she shouldn't be bringing onto the Court, and to the fact that she's an evangelical Christian, which some supporters of the president find persuasive. We shouldn't care about what her personal creed is. We want her to be faithful to the Constitution. But they can't make those arguments on her behalf because she's expressed over the years no interest in or opinions on any of these constitutional issues."
Once a White House staffer with Miers, David Kuo writes on Beliefnet that conservatives fear Miers will morph on the court into more of a moderate, as Anthony Kennedy did, because Miers lacks the "core convictions" regarding conservative constitutional principles. But Kuo is confident that her character as a Christian won't change. GOP Webmaster Patrick Ruffini is convinced Miers is "One of us."
Matt at the Stones Cry Out blog offers a warning to his fellow evangelicals. "I have two words for anyone who'll support Harriet Miers simply because she's an evangelical: Jimmy Carter."
Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost is also skeptical that simply being an evangelical automatically means dedication to conservative jurisprudence. Nonetheless, "Bush hasn't broken his campaign promise," he says. "At least not yet."
I am one who isn't bothered by questions about religion. What bothers me is the administration's audacious proposition that in absence of other obvious qualifications for a seat on this country's high court, religion alone is a reason -- indeed, the reason -- to accept the president's choice.
Some related items of interest:
More on Miers's work with Exodus Ministries.
Here's what you can tell from her service in church.
Slate debunks some popular misconceptions about evangelicals.
Billy Valentine exclaims, "Harriet Miers is pro life!" Miers also has called abortion "murder," Valentine says -- a tidbit he found out thanks to "an exclusive e-mail to my dad."
If you would like to send an exclusive e-mail to my dad, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise I'll give it to him.
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