Among the documents presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers are copies of speeches she gave more than a decade ago. In one 1993 speech before a women’s group in Dallas, Miers invoked what some might call a doctrine of self-determination.
Speaking about today’s hot-button social issues, including abortion and church-state separation, Miers said, “The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination. And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense.”
She added, “The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual (women’s) right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion.”
That line might comfortably fit inside a Planned Parenthood brochure.
Miers then delivered what one might reasonably conclude was a libertarian, not a conservative philosophical worldview. She said people who try to resolve such disputes should remember, “we gave up” a long time ago on “legislating religion or morality.” If she has not changed her views for specific reasons since then, these statements make a mockery of President Bush’s use of her flaunted “evangelical faith” as an indicator of her supposed true beliefs. An atheist or an agnostic would feel comfortable with the views expressed by Miers in that speech.
Could the president have known Harriet Miers for such a long time and not been aware of her views on the most important moral, religious and political issues of our time? No liberal president would nominate a stealth pro-life nominee to slip through, and none has since the high court decided Roe v. Wade. If Miers still believes these things, how could President Bush jeopardize his standing as an unyielding pro-lifer, not to mention most of his political base?
I didn’t join the pack calling for Harriet Miers to withdraw, but I was getting close.
Had Miers not withdrawn her name, she might consult that Bible in which she says she believes and see the disastrous consequences of self-determination when practiced by the ancient Israelites. A good place to start is in Judges 21:25: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”