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Harriet Miers on the Role of the Courts: The Washington Post has unearthed some speeches that Harriet Miers gave in the early 1990s, and one of them appears to include a discussion of the role of the courts in hot-button areas like abortion and religion. Here is the most illuminating passage, recopied from this .pdf file:
  What else do we hear a lot today about the Courts. The law and religion. A preacher in Dallas is challenged by suits charging that he is ripping off the helpless and defrauding them with prayer cloths, etc. Abortion clinic protesters have become synonymous with terrorists and the courts have been the refuge for the besieged. The Branch Davidian compound became a sight for speculation about legal responsibilities and legal rights. 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 to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion. Questions about what can be taught or done in public places or public schools are presented frequently to the courts.
  The law and religion make for an interesting mixture but the mixture tends to evoke the strongest of emotions. 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 the most sense. Legislating religion or morality we gave up on a long time ago. Remembering that fact appears to offer the most effective solutions to these problems once the easier cases are disposed of.
  The writing is awkward enough that I'm not entirely sure what she is saying. In particular, it's unclear in the second paragraph whether solving "cases" means imposing judicial solutions or finding some other kinds of solution. VC readers, what do you think?

  Link via How Appealing.

  UPDATE: A reader at Bench Memos points out that this speech was given shortly after the Supreme Court's decisions in Lee v. Weisman and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, so Miers may have been referring to the majority/plurality opinions in those cases. But we can't be sure.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Miers Speech:
  2. Harriet Miers on the Role of the Courts:
29 Comments
Miers Speech:

I much appreciate Orin's pointing to Harriet Miers' 1993 speech, but I'd also encourage people who read the quoted paragraphs to look at the whole document, which is only 14 pages long. The speech as a whole strikes me as considerably better written than those two paragraphs are.

50 Comments