Harriet Miers’ nomination fell victim to a right-wing double standard.
In his confirmation hearing, John Roberts affirmed the right to privacy, agreed with the conclusion of Griswold, and told the Judiciary Committee that he considered Roe v. Wade “settled as a precedent.”
There is much in Harriet Miers’ record to suggest she fell to the right of Roberts’ on the question of abortion rights. She does not consider Griswold settled law and had a record of supporting anti-choice causes.
Harriet Miers’ nomination has always been controversial, but it was not until comments from a 1993 speech surfaced where she said she believed in “self-determination” that Miers was presumably forced to withdraw.
It is clear that, absent an unambiguous pledge to overturn Roe, the right holds women nominees to a different standard. They do it because they fear a woman justice will feel empathy towards other women making the agonizing choice of whether to have an abortion. They fear that a woman justice would not be willing to use criminal sanctions to regulate other women’s decisions.
No nominee should be subject to a litmus test, especially one that discriminates based on gender.