Monday, October 17, 2005

Sneaky Dealings
Harriet the Judge

It seems that Religious Right leaders got confirmation of Harriet Miers' pro-life stance not from White House officials, but from friends/colleagues of hers who were part of a conference call initiated by the White House; from Salon's War Room:

The White House is preparing to relaunch the nomination of Harriet Miers with a new focus on what she's done rather than on who she is, but first it will have to deal with this: As John Fund reports today in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove arranged for two of Miers' friends to participate in a conference call with leaders of the religious right on the day that her nomination was announced. And in the course of that call, Fund says, both friends assured the Christianists that Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Fund bases his report on notes taken by someone who participated in the call. According to the notes, somebody asked Miers' friends, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, "Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?" Kinkeade's answer: "Absolutely." Hecht chimed in: "I agree with that. I concur." Fund tried to get confirmation from Kinkeade and Hecht. Kinkeade declined to talk with him, and Hecht -- who has had what he calls a "semi-romantic" relationship with Miers -- told Fund that he'd responded to the question by saying, "I don't know."

For what it's worth, Fund doesn't seem to buy it. "The benign interpretation of the comments is that the two judges were speaking on behalf of themselves, not Ms. Miers or the White House, and they were therefore offering a prediction, not an assurance, about how she would come down on Roe v. Wade," he writes. "But the people I interviewed who were on the call took the comments as an assurance, and at least one based his support for Ms. Miers on them."


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