Still Feel That Way, Senator?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Still Feel That Way, Senator?

In this recent post, I noted that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) had declared of Harriet Miers: "Everything I know about [her] is good." So I would love the opportunity to share the following news with Specter and see if he still feels that "everything" he knows about Miers is good:
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers gave mixed answers on same-sex rights in a questionnaire she filled out from a Texas gay rights group during her successful 1989 run for the Dallas City Council.

She told [the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas] she believed gay men and lesbians should have the same civil rights as straight Americans, but that she opposed repeal of the state's sodomy law criminalizing same-sex sexual conduct.
Huh? How the #@!*+)! does anyone claim to support equal rights for gay people and then, in the next breath, oppose repealing a sodomy statute that targeted gay people?

Of course, this was precisely the state sodomy law that the Supreme Court struck down in the 2003 decision of Lawrence v. Texas. And it was a GOP-appointed justice with moderate-conservative views who wrote the majority opinion:
"When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice."
It's certainly possible that Miers has changed her mind since the late 1980s -- a lot of Americans would seem to have matured in their thinking about such issues. But if Miers has not changed her mind and if she had been on the high court (instead of O'Connor) when Lawrence was heard, then the decision would have been a razor-thin 5-4 margin, not the 6-3 decision that was actually rendered.

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