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October 18, 2005
Citing Privacy Right, Miers Rejects Roe Questions
by Scott Ott

(2005-10-18) -- Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, making the rounds among influential Senators yesterday, refused to answer questions about her views on the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade (1973), citing her right to privacy as found in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that served as the key precedent for the Roe decision.

She also refused to answer whether she thinks Griswold is 'settled law', again citing the 1965 decision.

"If under Griswold, people have a right to privacy in the purchase of contraceptives," Miss Miers said, "I certainly have a right to protect myself from unwanted questions."

Sen. Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, challenged her application of Griswold to her own case, since the ruling dealt with access to contraceptives by married couples, and Miss Miers is single.

However, the nominee noted that Griswold also set the precedent for Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) which she said, "further emanated the penumbra of the so-called right to privacy, extending it to unmarried people."

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Scott McClellan, in yet another Bush administration effort to re-frame the debate on the Miers nomination said that conservative Republicans should not get distracted by the controversy about her qualifications.

"The important thing is not whether she's an evangelical Christian, a brilliant attorney, a trusted adviser or a woman," said Mr. McClellan, testing out the new White House talking points. "Her primary qualification to serve as a Supreme Court justice is that she's from Texas. We conservatives all know what that means. The president is confident that she thinks like a Texan and will act like a Texan on the court."

The White House later conducted a conference call, allowing key Senators to hear from Miss Miers' friends and neighbors who vouched for her Texas roots.

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