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Conservative Critics Question Miers' Abilities

Conservatives continue to criticize President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers (search) to the Supreme Court although no senators have joined the opposition yet.

Still the president is defending his nominee, saying she is being criticized because she was chosen from outside the "judicial monastery."

Interviewed on a network news show Tuesday morning, Bush and first lady Laura Bush agreed that Miers will make a great justice. Laura Bush suggested sexism is playing a role in the criticism of Miers.

Bush told the "Today" show's Matt Lauer that several senators he consulted with suggested that he pick someone for the court who came with real world experience.

But almost half of GOP senators are not convinced that Miers is the right person for the job, according to a survey published Monday in The Washington Times. Most senators said they plan to announce whether they will vote for the nominee after her confirmation hearings, which aren't yet scheduled.

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

Miers headed back to Washington from Texas on Monday after she prepared for her confirmation hearings over the weekend by reviewing personal papers and attending a church service in a hotel conference room.

Some conservatives remain skeptical of Bush's nominee, insisting that the court is too important to have someone on the bench that they don't know.

"Conservatives want to see more evidence that she's willing to take on the prevailing left wing ethos in our legal system," said Gary Bauer (search), president of the Institute of American Values, a self-described nonpartisan group dedicated to the renewal of family values. "And so far we just don't know enough to know that."

Others worry that Miers will be another justice who fails to show conservative tendencies on the bench, following in the footsteps of the Supreme Court justice nominated by the president's father. David Souter (search), who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush, surprised his supporters when he leaned to the left once he got onto the bench.

Members of the conservative bloc, who have widely backed Bush throughout his presidency, say he didn't foresee the conservative backlash that has come with the Miers' nomination.

"I think the president underestimated the level of goodwill and trust he should expect from conservatives," said Richard Land (search), a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Land said criticism that Miers could be another Souter is unfair.

"President George H. W. Bush didn't know David Souter from Adam's cat until he was introduced to him by John Sununu," Land said, referring to the former White House chief of staff. "This president has known Harriet Miers for 15 years, has worked closely with her."

Another spark of debate involves Focus on the Family chief James Dobson (search), who may be asked to testify during confirmation hearings after some of his comments regarding Miers.

"When you know some of the things that I know, that I probably shouldn't know, that take me in this direction, you will understand why I have said with fear and trepidation, why I have said that I believe that Harriet Miers will be a good justice," Dobson said during a radio interview last week.

The White House has denied anyone there has offered clues how Miers might rule on particular cases, instead commenting only on her judicial philosophy.