Vice President Cheney on 'Special Report'

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from Oct. 14, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

BRIT HUME, HOST: On Friday, I sat down with Vice President Dick Cheney (search) for an interview at the White House. Much of it was taken up with questions about the president's nomination of his White House counsel to the Supreme Court (search).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: The Harriet Miers (search) nomination. What was your role in the selection of Harriet Miers?

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT: The president established, shortly after we came to office, a small group in the White House involving myself, Karl Rove (search), Andy Card, the attorney general, the counsel to the president, to work on this question of judicial nominations, and particular to the Supreme Court. So we met periodically during the time we've been in office, and we were prepared, when vacancies occurred, to sort of go into high gear and produce for the president various options for his deliberations, if you will. That same process was used as we worked up to the selections that the president finally made, both for Judge Roberts (search) and for Harriet Miers, and I think it's been a good process.

HUME: At what point in the process did she become a possible nominee and not really a member of the selection committee? And what then happened to assure, if anything, that she was as thoroughly vetted as the people she had been vetting?

CHENEY: Well, the president's the one who made the decision, obviously.

HUME: The vetting of Harriet Miers — you were involved in it. How thorough was it, how arm's length was it in view that she was a White House colleague?

CHENEY: I think it was very thorough, and we had the advantage, with respect to Harriet, that we'd all worked with her for five years. This is not somebody who just walked in off the street and we said, "Oh, gee, why don't we go with her?" This is a woman who had a distinguished record as a private attorney in Texas, who had worked with the president when he was governor and before he became president, that I and other members of the group had worked with for five years during the course of this administration. So we know a great deal about Harriet. And extra work was done to go back and look at all those questions you'd want to look at at somebody before you made them a nominee for the Supreme Court, and that work was undertaken.

HUME: Was is it about her that gives you assurance as a conservative that she is a judicial conservative? Because outwardly, there's nothing to look at.

CHENEY: Well, what's different with respect to Harriet is, she has not served as a judge. And that's not unique in the history of Supreme Court appointments. Judge Rehnquist (search) never served on the bench before he became a member of the Supreme Court. I think some of our friends are having difficulty trying to get a handle on Harriet in terms of her views because she hasn't written legal opinions as a judge.

HUME: What do you know about her views?

CHENEY: Well, what I know about her views is having worked alongside her for five years. I also know this is a woman who graduated from law school back in the late 60s, when it was difficult to break into the profession.

My own wife had the experience, as a PhD graduate during that time, of walking into an English department and being asked by the chairman of the English department, "Are you serious about a job or are you married?"

It was a hard time for women to break into the professions. Harriet overcame all of those obstacles, became the first woman chairman of the Texas State Bar, had a very distinguished career and is a partner at a major law firm in Texas. So I think you've got to look and say this is a woman of considerable accomplishments.

Secondly, if you're looking at her philosophy, she has been intimately involved working with us in picking nominees for the bench and this president has made, I believe, 243 nominations now to the federal bench. Federal district, appellate and Supreme Court nominations.

He has, I believe, been very consistent with the views he voiced in, of course, the two presidential campaigns that he'd look for people to faithfully interpret the Constitution and the laws of the land, that would not legislate from the bench and Harriet fits very much within that mold.

I would argue, for my friends out there who share my conservative philosophy, that in fact Harriet very much is consistent with those principles that the president has enunciated throughout his time as president of the United States.

HUME: Have you heard her express views consistent with or actually expressing a conservative judicial philosophy?

CHENEY: I am confident that her philosophy is consistent with those values that the president has said he's looking for in nominees for the Supreme Court. And I also think — she's about to go before the Senate, she will sit before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she'll answer questions posed to her by members of the Judiciary Committee and they'll then have an opportunity to explore all those issues.

And folks who are sort of sitting back or who have been somewhat critical at this point, again, a lot of them good friends of mine, hold your powder dry, keep your powder dry and watch and see how she acquits herself in front of the committee.

HUME: And you expect what?

CHENEY: I think she'll do a good job. I think she'll be a great Supreme Court justice.

HUME: Are you confident that she will espouse before that committee a conservative judicial philosophy that will be clear even to those who may now have doubts about her?

CHENEY: I think there is no reason for them to have doubts about her and I think that her appearance before the committee will be very reassuring to those who do have those doubts.

HUME: When this process was going forward and you were involved in it, before the president had made a decision, did you favor her?

CHENEY: Brit, you're trying to get me back around into talking about what kind of advice I gave the president. I never discussed that. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work for the president. He and I talk about a whole range of things. Once he has made a decision I support those decisions.

I think Harriet will be a good Supreme Court justice. I support her nomination and look forward to her appearance before the committee.

HUME: There's one report that says that resistance to her came out, not from you, but from your office. Is that true?

CHENEY: I don't believe a lot of what I read in the press, Brit. I have never commented upon the advice I give the president and I'm not going to start now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Watch "Special Report With Brit Hume" weeknights at 6 p.m. EDT.

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