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U.S. Supreme Court

Bush calls in former Texas justices to vouch for Miers

By Associated Press
Published October 15, 2005

WASHINGTON - Caught off-guard by conservative opposition to Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, President Bush next week will bring in former justices from her home state of Texas to vouch for her qualifications for the nation's highest court.

The event is part of an administration effort to refine its push for Miers after opposition from members of the president's own party.

The Republican critics, who say Bush passed over candidates with long records of conservative rulings, say if the White House strategy continues to amount to a "trust me" message, they'll continue to grumble.

On Friday, press secretary Scott McClellan repeatedly used the words "qualified" and "well-qualified" to defend Miers and say she deserved a fair hearing from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The White House has sought to dampen opposition from conservatives by pointing out that Miers attended an evangelical church in Texas that is almost universally antiabortion. Earlier this week, the president spoke of how religion is part of her life.

McClellan said that Miers was "firmly committed to strictly interpreting our Constitution and our laws," but conservative critics have not been persuaded.

The National Pro-Life Action Center on Friday said Bush should withdraw his nominee, calling the choice "ill-advised."

On Monday, as senators return from visits to their districts, Bush will host a White House event with former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justices John Hill and Thomas Phillips. Miers, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet with more senators next week and is expected to return a 12-page questionnaire to the judiciary panel early next week.

Hill, Phillips and another former Texas Supreme Court chief justice, Joe Greenhill, wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday complimenting Miers' credentials.

[Last modified October 15, 2005, 01:16:10]

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