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Miers and a Right to Privacy:
Reuters has a report on Harriet Miers' meetings with key Senators today as part of the "relaunch" of the Miers nomination. This part was particularly confusing:
  Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter . . . met with Miers and said afterward she told him "she believes that there is a right to privacy" in the Constitution, the key underpinning of the Roe v. Wade ruling.
  Specter also told reporters Miers told him she considered as settled law a 1965 Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraception by married couples.
  But Specter's office later issued a statement, saying Miers called him to say "he misunderstood her and that she had not taken a position" on the 1965 case or the privacy issue. The statement by Specter's office said the senator "accepts Ms. Miers's statement that he misunderstood what she said."
RJL (mail):
Yes, of course she does, but does the right of the government to torture enemy combatants in private really count?
10.17.2005 11:04pm
Anonymous Jim (mail):
And yet another strategy emerges: confuse them.
10.17.2005 11:24pm
Elizabetty:
Misunderstood? Specter is a pretty smart cookie and I am sure he understands the difference between "Yes Senator" and "No Senator."
Sounds like she got back to the White House and was informed that she does not believe in the "right to privacy."
10.17.2005 11:47pm
Buck Turgidson (mail):
Bullshit! She is trying to leave it ambiguous to diminish hard-core opposition on both sides. Those hopeful and trusting enough will fall for one line or the other without any hard evidence either way. Apparently, she learned the Rove two-step all too well. In my mind, this disqualifies her even more, on top of all the other problems.
10.17.2005 11:53pm
DJB:
I'm a bit puzzled by the number of people who automatically assume that belief in a Constitutional right to privacy implies belief in a Constitutional right to abortion. A person who believes that a fetus is a human life (which Miers, as an evangelical, presumably does) could quite reasonably believe both (a) that there is a right to privacy and (b) that it doesn't protect the right to kill other human beings, couldn't she?
10.18.2005 12:31am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
How can anyone possibly deny that there is a "right to privacy" protected by the constitution? What Specter really wants to know is whether the penumbras of the obvious privacy rights add up to a right to abortion, and he didn't ASK that.

I hope the confusion stems from the fact that Specter made the jump from his question to abortion without realizing that Miers meant only what she said... that there are privacy rights in the constitution. I *really* hope Elizabetty doesn't have it right.
10.18.2005 12:37am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
It sounds like a VERY clumsy two-step. The right of privacy in this context is about as ambiguous as you can get -- "the right to be let alone." (Presumably with the qualifier "unless there is a sufficient reason"). Does that encompass my right to be let alone while driving over the speed limit, to smoke pot in my own house, etc., etc., etc.? A person can endorse a "right of privacy" while being anything from an anarchist to a Nazi or Stalinist.

Of course, it may be that they feared the reaction after press coverage, given that some fair number of people, with good basis in the caselaw, equate "right of privacy" with "right to have a condom or an abortion," given that that is about as far as the Supreme Court has ever extended this right.
10.18.2005 12:40am
Harpo:
Roberts endorsed Griswold at his hearings.
10.18.2005 12:53am
Yankee_Mark:
Myers on the right to privacy:

She was for it until she was against it ... either that or she was confused as to what "is" actually is. Right now, one is quite inclined to suspect a meltdown before the Judiciary Committee since her handlers/puppeteers will not be there to help make her mouth move.

At the moment, Ms Miers does not seem to have a position on anything and heaven help her when she goes to Kroger's and is asked to decide between paper or plastic. I suspect she would take plastic, but Rove will make her go back to get environmentally friendly paper instead!
10.18.2005 12:59am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Paper might offend environmentalists... I bet she brings her own burlap sack
10.18.2005 1:05am
Steve P. (mail):
I've heard arguments that Miers is a novice to constitutional law, and that she wouldn't be a good pick as a Supreme Court Justice, but I haven't heard that she is, in fact, stupid. As the President's chief counsel, I'd be disinclined to believe that. I'm guessing that it was, in fact, a clumsy two-step. Chief Justice Roberts stated specifically to the Senate over a month ago that he believed there was a right to privacy in the Constitution.

It may be that she is trying to garner support from the President's base by leaving the issue ambiguous, and said too much when speaking with Senator Specter. Based on what little information we have, I'm guessing that Buck's analysis is correct. With her 'core group' of Bush-aligned Senators voicing significant doubts, she's going to have to become more politically agile to survive this nomination.

Don't forget that she must win the nomination, because Bush cannot drop it as easily as other presidents have in the past. A large part of his administration is built upon loyalty, and from following through with decisions through hell or high water (which made him popular post-9/11). Luckily for him, he can't run for another term, and Dick Cheney doesn't need the success, as he won't have his own presidential campaign. Think of that as even less to lose in fighting for an unpopular nominee.
10.18.2005 1:10am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
What do you mean he can't drop it? Who will punish him politically for failing to push for a nominee that really isn't supported by anyone except the rather small "political loyalty above all else" crowd?

Miers is not helping him politically at all. If she's confirmed, it's no "victory," and if she's dropped, it's not a "defeat."
10.18.2005 1:22am
Challenge:
"Roberts endorsed Griswold at his hearings."

Under substantive due process rationale, though. I'm not sure if that's any better than him endorsing the "right to privacy" outright but he didn't say Griswold was correct in its reasoning, only that its result was.

I concur with Chapman's comment above. The Miers nomination has been a political disaster, but a withdrawal is a positive rather than a negative. Pushing her through is a stupid political move. Even if Miers turns out to be very conservative, it will hurt him for the rest of his presidency.

If Miers is truly a brilliant lady, and he's positive she will absolutely SHINE at the hearings, then maybe it makes sense to give it a shot.
10.18.2005 1:45am
Jonny's_Light:
Challenge, which are you agreeing to: "a withdrawal is a positive rather than a negative," or "If Miers is truly a brilliant lady, and he's positive she will absolutely SHINE at the hearings, then maybe it makes sense to give it a shot."

Are you saying its good or bad?
10.18.2005 1:58am
Jonny's_Light:
Mr. Steve P., "Don't forget that she must win the nomination, because Bush cannot drop it as easily as other presidents have in the past. A large part of his administration is built upon loyalty, and from following through with decisions through hell or high water"
"Think of that as even less to lose in fighting for an unpopular nominee."

You seem to be contradicting yourself, saying that it is detrimental to Bush to get Miers confirmed, then you say he has even less to lose since she is an unpopular nominee. Please elaborate for me. Thank you.
10.18.2005 2:24am
Cornellian (mail):
Does anyone think that, right at this moment, Miers would have any clue about the point being made here about endorsing the result in Griswold on a substantive due process basis?

"Roberts endorsed Griswold at his hearings."

Under substantive due process rationale, though. I'm not sure if that's any better than him endorsing the "right to privacy" outright but he didn't say Griswold was correct in its reasoning, only that its result was.
10.18.2005 8:23am
Steve P. (mail):
Jonny's Light:
Actually, it's rather consistent, if poorly-constructed. My first point is the sense of loyalty in the Bush administration, and it's part of the culture to make a decision (whether or not it's good) and then stick to it. That's actually two separate issues (loyalty and decision-making), but for the purposes of a Supreme Court nomination, I'll lump them together.

My second point is that President Bush doesn't have as much to lose as others in the past by fighting for this unpopular nominee. So, my take is that he'll push it through to the end. Miers is no Brownie, she can't just hang her head in shame and slink away. I doubt the President would let her.
10.18.2005 12:58pm