Last week, right-wing Focus on the Family head James Dobson said that his support for Harriet Miers was in part due to “confidential” information he had received during a phone conversation with Karl Rove.
This morning on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on Rove and Dobson to make public the details of their talk. He also announced that Dobson will likely be called to testify about the conversation before the Senate Judiciary Commitee:
SEN. SCHUMER: That is no way to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. For that nominee to refuse to answer questions to the American public, and then have someone supporting her do all this whispering saying ‘She’s okay, here is what she believes,’ is unfair. So as a result, I believe that we ought to call James Dobson as a witness at the Senate Judiciary hearing and find out what kind of assurances he has received. If those assurances are good enough for James Dobson, then all of America ought to hear them. … I believe my Democratic colleagues will go along and we will have James Dobson as a witness. Additionally, I think Karl Rove ought to let the public know what kind of assurances he gave James Dobson. This is not a game of wink and whisper. This is serious business.
Demonstrating the gravity of situation — that Rove may have given Dobson assurances of how Miers would vote on an upcoming case — Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) repeated Schumer’s call on ABC’s “This Week”:
SPECTER: If there is something which bears upon a precondition as to how a nominee is going to vote, I think that’s a matter that ought to be known by the Judiciary Committee and the American people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So let me clarify here. You will call Dr. Dobson and Karl Rove to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee?
SPECTER: I haven’t made up a witness list, but I have done something unprecedented. I have divided the 30 witnesses equally between the Democrats and Republicans. Maybe that’s a witness that Pat Leahy will want to call.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Leahy —
SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Now, wait a minute. If Pat Leahy doesn’t call him, Arlen Specter may. I want to know what all the facts are. I’m very fact-oriented, and if Dr. Dobson knows something that he shouldn’t know or something that I ought to know, I’m going to find out.