'A Pit Bull in a Size Six Shoe'


J$P Instant Transcripts! Reactions to the Harriet Miers nomination from Brit Hume, Juan Williams, Geraldine Ferraro, Bill Kristol, Jim Warren, Tammy Bruce, Tim O'Brien, Bob Beckel, and more.



Reactions to the nomination of Harriet Miers for Supreme Court Justice, October 3 2005:

TIM O'BRIEN [FOX NEWS SUPREME COURT ANALYST]: She would probably be confirmable without too much of a fight.... This will be the 11th Republican appointee in the past 37 years; the Democrats have only had two. It's surprising that the Court doesn't look a lot more Republican than it does. And it's one of the reasons that the conservatives are demanding someone who is a tried and true conservative. I don't think Harriet Miers fits that bill.

TONY SNOW [FOX NEWS]: Harriet Miers is kind of a cipher for people who don't know her, and that includes most of the folks in Washington. As Carl Cameron pointed out, most of the stuff that she's produced in the White House is not going to be accessible to members of the Senate. The three jobs she's had in Washington: one is staff secretary, it's a little known but very important job where every piece of paper that goes before the President first is vetted by the staff secretary. Then she was Deputy Chief of Staff, and since February of this year she's been White House Legal Counsel.... My guess is conservatives also are a little worried about the Suiter effect: somebody without a paper trail, somebody without extensive experience, somebody without strong pronouncements on key constitutional issues. Both sides I think are going to try to get her to declare herself.... Conservatives are going to be unhappy in the sense that they do not have somebody who is a demonstrated conservative in terms of a long train of legal opinions and so on.... Nobody really knows what she thinks about the constitution, what she thinks about Roe v Wade.

BILL KRISTOL [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: I've talked to five Republicans and conservatives in the last hour, and they're pretty demoralized. This is not the pick they had hoped for to replace Sandra Day O'Connor.... He has passed over conservative judges, including female judges, who have long and distinguished records on the Federal court, on the state Supreme Courts.... It looks an awful lot like he flinched, if I can be honest. It looks like a capitulation.... He put up someone with no judicial record, and it's hard to interpret that as anything but flinching from a fight.... The interesting question for me is, do some conservative Republican elected officials stand up and say, this is not what we wanted, Mr President. And it really isn't what you said you would do.

BOB BECKEL [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: We're relieved that he didn't pick people that would have been, from our standpoint, quite unacceptable.... But we didn't get a Jones, and that's important to us.... There's nothing in the constitution that says you have to be a judge. In fact, you don't have to be a lawyer, which wouldn't be a bad idea one of these days.... For the President, at least initially, this is a safe political choice. He's weak politically right now.... She's not married; Suiter's not married. So now they have dates for events.

WENDY LONG [JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION NETWORK]: She's just unknown to a lot of people; I think that's more it than anything else.... Her fingerprints are all over these wonderful Federal Court of Appeals judges that have been put on the bench by this President. She had a big role in that.

NINA EASTON [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: It's a reflection in part of the President's relatively weak political standing. He is trying for a repeat of John Roberts.... There is some risk in Harriet Miers. She in an unknown quantity. I think some Democrats will raise the issue of so-called cronyism. And I think any investigation of Harriet Miers, because she was the President's personal lawyer, will necessarily lead to him.

FRED BARNES [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: This nomination is a shock to conservatives. I talked to people in the administration who say look, they don't know much about Harriet Miers except they like her.... The stakes are, this nominee is one who, if confirmed, can move the Supreme Court ideologically to the right, can change the balance on the court. This is what conservatives, and many many Republicans, have been seeking for a half-century. And Harriet Miers might seem at the beginning here an odd person to fulfill that promise. But as I say, the President knows the stakes, and I've had people in the administration tell me he would not have nominated her if she were not a judicial conservative. But we'll see. We don't know that now, however.

GERALDINE FERRARO [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: He could not have nominated Edith Jones or Priscilla Owens. Those two judges came through a very contentious confirmation process in 2003. And moderates like Susan Collins in Maine, who had put together a compromise that got them through, has specifically asked that they take a close look at that and recognize the right to privacy. So I think he had no choice when it comes to people like that. I think he had to move as he did, in a direction that would allow debate, and also allow Democrats to see that it is not an ideologue who's being appointed to the court.... I don't think anybody's going to be fully happy on this choice, but I do think when push comes to shove on this thing, she's going to be confirmed.

LINDA CHAVEZ [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: My phone has been ringing off the hook, and I will tell you it is mostly from conservatives who are very very unhappy with this pick.... She's contributed to Vice-President Al Gore when he ran for President in 1988. She contributed to his campaign. She also contributed to Lloyd Bentsen's campaign. So it doesn't surprise me that Geraldine Ferraro is sort of mild in her criticism.... It's going to disappoint President Bush's conservative base. This is sort of President Bush in his mode of wanting to surround himself with people he's comfortable with.

ALAN SIMPSON [FORMER SENATOR]: If you don't like George Bush, you don't like anybody he's going to appoint. I've never heard Chuck [Schumer] say anything positive about the President.... He's a nice friend, but this is absurd. And the way he parsed the words. Lord's sake, he was dancing on dynamite caps.... They want to find out all the stuff that the American people get turned off about, at least the centrists. Abortion, gay rights, on and on. I voted for seven of the nine justices on the court. It didn't matter to me what their party was. Were they good lawyers? Were they thoughtful people? Did they have judicial temperament? Hopefully we can get away from what church they go to, and what they said 20 years ago in a Law Review article, and all that balderdash that means nothing.

BRIT HUME [FOX NEWS]: In this case, it is not the Democrats, as the favorable reaction from Sen Reid demonstrates, and the somewhat befuddled reaction you heard from Chuck Schumer, who seemed not to know whether to be happy or not. It is the reaction on the right that the White House has to worry about here. Because conservatives believe that this Democrat, with a Republican majority in the Senate, could within reason appoint anyone he wanted. And this was his opportunity to really move the ball.... I can tell you at this hour that some in the White House are reaching out to conservatives to say look, we know this woman. The President knows her. We have been in meetings with her. We've heard her express her own ideas about what a judge ought to be and do. And we are convinced beyond doubt that she is the real deal.... It isn't going to be easy to mollify conservatives on this. Conservatives are disappointed. Now that does not translate into a rebellion among Republican ranks in the Senate. Because these Senators, these political figures, with the exception of a handful, really don't like confirmation fights. And they would rather have an easy passage of someone, a large vote in favor, and so on, and get it over with.

CHARLES BABBINGTON [WASHINGTON POST]: She's something of a blank slate, and that lets people read into her either there hopes or their fears, I guess. It's been a little surprising that, at least right out of the box, some of the comments from Democrats, particularly the Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, have been somewhat favorable. And some of the more conservative groups have been much more negative.

TAMMY BRUCE [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: I'm not a staunch conservative, but even I'm nervous.... Seven of the last nine Republican appointees went to the left side of the bench.... Sandra Day O'Connor made authentically conservative decisions, of which I include pro-choice matters to be a part of, when it comes to limited government. So in this instance we've got, I think, a legitimate anger rising.... He has created a government moving larger now than what Franklin Delano Roosevelt ever imagined--President Bush is not an authentic conservative.

JIM WARREN [CHICAGO TRIBUNE]: If John Roberts was really the perfect pick for the Bush administration, sort of an impregnable conservative, the problem for the White House as our reporting made clear was that they simply did not find another John Roberts anywhere: male, female, brown, white, black. So instead of going for the fences, they sort of tried to hit a double here.... She really does come from a different generation than you guys. She doesn't come from a generation of I can have it all, work and a family at the same time. Even though she didn't come from one of the elite Dallas firms...she came from sort of more a second-tier firm, the fact that she made Managing Partner in the 1980s, broke the glass ceiling, was absolutely no small feat.

JUAN WILLIAMS [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: The reaction coming from the Democrats on Capitol Hill is one of holding back, because for the most part they are pleasantly surprised.... Operation Rescue says that people who are Southern Methodists, and Harriet Miers graduated, undergrad and graduate, from Southern Methodist University, are in their minds notoriously pro-choice. So they're worried about the abortion issue. The criticism coming from liberals has to do with, is this a crony-like appointment from the President?... She's very low-key. If you ever meet her, you wouldn't guess that this is a woman of such great intellect and achievement. She's very self-effacing... The President once said she is a pit-bull in a size six shoe.... You don't rise up to head the bar in Texas...without being someone who impresses your legal colleagues as absolutely one of the best.

ANDREW FOIS [FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: A little bit of opposition from some of the right-wing extremist quarters actually would be helpful to confirmation in the long run. Because that sends signals to the moderate Republicans and the Democrats that the nominee is not an ideologue and not out of the mainstream. One could almost, if one wants to be cynical about it, imagine this being actually the orchestrated strategy.

JAN BARAN [FORMER FNC COUNSEL]: I would call it high anxiety. I'm a little struck by how comparable the reactions are to Harriet Miers as they were to now Chief Justice John Roberts.... I think that she is likely to wind up being perceived as basically an establishment figure, coming from Texas.... She minds me of Justice Lewis Powell, who was appointed by President Nixon. He was a well-known figure in the bar; he was a member of the largest law firm in Richmond, Virginia, and he was not a judge. And I think she's likely to be somewhat like he was.

posted: Mon - October 3, 2005 at 12:28 PM       j$p  send 
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