WASHINGTON - Statement of NOW President Kim Gandy
George W. Bush's nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers
to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court raises important
questions for women's rights supporters. While we are pleased that
Bush chose a woman for the High Court, her judicial philosophy is
more important than her gender. Miers' potential as a justice is
unknown at this point.
What we do know about Miers is that she is a Bush loyalist,
having worked closely with him since at least 1993. With this
nomination, Bush has raised to new heights his fondness for
promoting close confidantes, like Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales,
to top positions.
If confirmed, Miers would fill the seat of retiring Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the key swing vote to preserve the
basic protections of Roe v. Wade, to require a health
exception to state-level abortion restrictions, to allow affirmative
action in college admissions, and to protect Title IX's promise of
equal educational opportunities for women and girls, among many
After careful consideration of O'Connor's record and judicial
philosophy, NOW testified in support of her confirmation in 1981.
While she was a conservative, O'Connor did support basic human
rights and liberties that transcend the often rigid labels of
"liberal" or "conservative."
It remains to be seen where Miers stands on those and virtually
every other issue. She has no paper trail and has never served as a
judge — quite simply, her future conduct on the Court may be
impossible to determine. Should the Senate confirm someone to a
lifetime appointment with so little information? We think not. NOW
urges the Senate to ask tough questions, insist on answers, and
refuse to confirm this nomination unless they can establish that
Miers supports the fundamental rights of women.
The rights of women and girls are on the line; too much is at
stake to confirm a stealth nominee to the Court.