Former Sen. Coats to Guide Miers' Nomination

Published October 07, 2005

| FoxNews.com

The White House announced Thursday that former Sen. Dan Coats (search) of Indiana and a respected conservative, will help usher Supreme Court justice nominee Harriet Miers (search) through the Senate.

Click in the video box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' Jim Angle.

In a FOX News’ exclusive, Coats said he will meet with Miers for the first time on Friday to get to know her.

Coats dismissed criticism from conservatives, saying that Miers fits Bush’s criteria to be faithful to the Constitution, uphold the law and use her real-life experience in her position to rule on the bench.

“There is a great substance to Harriet Miers, a lady of integrity that has achieved very significant achievements for a woman,” Coats said. “We’ve had a number of distinguished Supreme Court justices who haven’t had that experience.

Coats may have been chosen to shepherd Miers based on his own record as a conservative senator. In the Senate from 1989 to 1999, Coats pushed legislation to restrict abortion, tried to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts because of grants it made to artists he said mocked God, and led the opposition to allowing gays in the military.

“Dan Coats is a well-respected former senator, former ambassador to Germany who’s known on both sides of the aisle as a man of integrity and principle and conviction,” said Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie (search).

While Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (search) experienced a smooth confirmation process, Miers may not receive the same reception, as she must convince conservatives that she is the right person for the job.

So far the seeming aversion of numerous conservative activists and commentators to Miers as Supreme Court justice has gained only limited traction in the Senate.

"I think the president has created political trouble for himself," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. "She may turn out to be a great judge ... but my own reaction to it is that it is not my fight, and I think that's the way that most conservatives feel about it," he said.

Miers continued visiting senators on Capitol Hill Thursday, meeting with conservative Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Sam Brownback (search), R-Kan., told FOX News that he worries how he will come to a decision of whether to vote for Miers since she has no written record of her opinions.

“And what has me at discomfort is what we don’t know. And are unlikely to know given the candidate doesn’t have much of a written record,” Brownback said.

Brownback, who is a likely 2008 presidential candidate with strong anti-abortion credentials, said that during his meeting with Miers she refused to take a position when he asked her about the 1965 Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut that established the right of privacy in the sale and use of contraceptives.

"She did not take a position on it, nor did she say she would take a position on it, nor did she think it appropriate to have a position on it," Brownback said.

But Brownback, who voted for Roberts, said he felt the same way when the now chief justice’s nomination was announced.

“I’m reserving judgment on this nominee until we have a fuller portrait of who she is, and her view of the Constitution and the role of the courts in the United States,” Brownback said. “She may end up being an outstanding nominee.”

But one GOP leader threw their support to Miers.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (search), R-S.C., said people need to stop complaining about Miers and engaging in what he called cheap shots until they get a chance to find more about her.

“People want their 15 minutes of fame,” Graham said. “This isn’t about Harriet, it’s about them.”

With Republicans arguing amongst themselves, one Democratic senator who opposed Roberts seemed to extend some support for the nominee.

"I'm shocked at the sexism and double standard coming out of the far right. All of a sudden they're saying that a woman who was able to become head of the Texas Bar Association isn't qualified. They're saying a woman who was one of the first to head up a major law firm with over 400 lawyers doesn't have intellectual heft," said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (search), D-Md., who did not vote for Roberts. "I find this a double standard. I find it incredibly sexist."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/10/07/former-sen-coats-to-guide-miers-nomination