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Supreme Court nominee’s pro-life views asserted

WASHINGTON (BP)–Reports of Harriet Miers’ pro-life views have come to light since President Bush nominated her to the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 3.

The testimony from friends and colleagues has served to provide encouragement to some social conservatives who, like many, were surprised, but also deeply disappointed, by Bush’s choice of his White House counsel.

Statements asserting Miers is pro-life by personal conviction have come from the following sources:

— Nathan Hecht, a Texas Supreme Court justice and a longtime friend of Miers, who said she told him after a talk at a Dallas church, “I’m convinced that life begins at conception,” The Washington Port reported.

“I know she is pro-life,” Hecht told The Post. “She thinks that after conception, it’s not a balancing act -– or if it is, it’s a balancing act of two equal lives.”

— Lorlee Bartos, Miers’ campaign manager in her successful 1989 race for the Dallas City Council, who said the high court nominee “is on the extreme end of the anti-choice movement. I think Harriet’s belief was pretty strongly felt. I suspect she is of the same cloth as the president,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

Miers was pro-choice earlier in her life but had “a born-again, profound experience” that resulted in her becoming pro-life, Bartos told the newspaper. Miers discussed the issue with her only once during the 1989 campaign, and she has no other discernment of the nominee’s views on abortion, Bartos told The Morning News.

Other evidence cited by some to indicate Miers’ pro-life leanings includes: (1) The Dallas church she has been a member of since 1979 is pro-life; (2) Hecht and Miers attended two or three pro-life banquets in the late 1980s or early ’90s, the Texas high court justice told World Magazine editor in chief Marvin Olasky, and (3) she led an unsuccessful effort while president of the Texas bar in 1993 to convince the American Bar Association to return to a neutral position on abortion.

Hecht, who has dated Miers at times over the last three decades, said observers should not expect a certain vote from her, however, if she is confirmed to the high court.

“The mistake is trying to extrapolate from those personal principles, even if they’re extremely important to a person, into how you’re going to decide a case,” Hecht told The Morning News. “Because I’ve been a judge for 24 years, and you just can’t do it.”

Darrell Jordan, a Dallas lawyer who joined Miers in the challenge of the ABA’s abortion position, also said her pro-life views might not produce a predictable result on a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

“She is a very disciplined thinker,” Jordan told The Los Angeles Times. “I think she would take the view that only in the rarest of circumstances would she do something to reverse that kind of precedent.”

The National Right to Life Committee felt comfortable enough Oct. 4 to provide a measured endorsement of Miers.

“President Bush has an excellent record of appointing judges who recognize the proper role of the courts, which is to interpret the law according to its actual text and not to legislate from the bench,” NRLC Executive Director David O’Steen said in a written statement. “We believe that Harriet Miers is another nominee who will abide by the text and history of the Constitution.”

Some pro-lifers remain highly skeptical of Bush’s nominee.

“It’s not about her church or the fellow she dates. It’s about her record,” said Colleen Parro, executive director of the Republican National Coalition for Life, according to The Post. “She seems like a fine lady, but this nomination does not advance the culture of life.”

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