For almost his entire presidency, President Bush has been governing as if given a mandate, despite winning by one of the closest margins in electoral history.

The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court may have been Bush’s first attempt to unite the country as promised five years ago. Of course, Republicans would not accept a compromise – Miers was viciously attacked until she was forced to withdraw her name from being considered. While Democrats reserved judgment on Miers and were willing to give her a chance at the hearings, conservatives from all over the country criticized her so much that a Republican-controlled Senate would not be able to confirm her.

They were not criticizing her lack of judicial experience – most people were willing to look past that. What troubled the conservatives most was that Miers did not have a solidly conservative record to stand behind. Even though President Bush personally assured his base that Miers had a conservative judicial philosophy, she still did not stand a chance. These are the same Republicans that claim they do not have a litmus test for nominees. They clearly saw that Miers was not fully committed to overturning Roe v. Wade, and that was not going to cut it for them.

The people who killed Miers’ nomination are also the same people who claim a person’s religion should have no effect on the outcome of their confirmation. They constantly paint the Democrats as against religion. For example, when William Pryor was filibustered by Democrats for his extremist views, Republicans claimed it was because of Pryor’s religion and that was not a legitimate reason to prevent someone from becoming a judge. Religion should play no part in deciding whether or not to confirm a judge. However, when Miers was struggling to gain support, Bush turned to Miers’ religious beliefs to gain backing for her nomination. Touting her deep convictions and conservative church, Bush hoped to gain enough support for her so that she could at least make it to the Senate hearings. Apparently, Republicans can use a person’s religious beliefs to prove their conservatism, but if Democrats attempt to bring religion into the field – that’s out of line.

With the new nomination of Samuel Alito Jr. to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s spot on the Supreme Court, Democrats are understandably upset that Bush pandered to the extreme right wing. This is a man who voted to uphold a law that required women to notify – aka receive permission – from their husbands to obtain an abortion.

That would have set the country back decades, to a time when women were submissive to their husbands and did not have their own rights. I also think that this would discourage women from getting married – choosing instead not to formalize their relationship with the state. That would go against the Bush Administration’s policy, which encourages marriage with tax incentives.

As they should be, Democrats are considering using a filibuster on Alito’s nomination. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist responded by saying that, “the American people deserve fair up-or-down votes” on nominees.

Interestingly enough, when Miers did not appear conservative enough, she was not given a fair up-or-down vote. Instead, she was forced to withdraw by the same people who are saying that everyone deserves a fair vote.

Once again, Frist has demonstrated the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. He claims that Alito deserves a vote, but Miers did not because her views were not as conservative as his. Republicans claim that religion plays no role in the judicial process, yet they turned to religion when Miers’ nomination was in trouble. While Republicans threaten to invoke the “nuclear option,” a rule that would disallow the filibustering of judicial nominees, they should have enough insight to realize that the way they are governing will, in fact, make them the minority.

Daga can be reached at ndaga@campustimes.org.



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