The Washington Post reports that Harriet Miers backed “racial and gender set-asides” for the legal profession when she headed the Texas bar association. This phrase is strking in a Washington Post story — the paper normally speaks of such preferences as “affirmative action” or “goals,” not as “set-asides.” But there’s no reason to sugar-coat when you’re trying to embarrass a Republican president.
Despite the breathless tone of the article, there’s not much new here. We’ve understood all along that Miers backs certain forms of race and gender-based preferences. I wrote about this several weeks ago, and I discussed it yesterday on the blogger conference call with Justice Enoch.
President Bush also supports certain forms of race and gender-based preferences. Thus, it’s no betrayal for him to have nominated a Justice who shares his views on the subject. But Miers’ support of discrimination based on race and gender under certain circumstances cuts against the assuarances that she’s a sound conservative. Bush’s support of preferential affirmative action is but one of dozens important positions he has taken. But in Miers’ case it’s just about the only substantive position we know she has taken. As I said to Justice Enoch, that makes her 0-1 in my estimation. Enoch countered by pointing to her efforts to prevent the ABA from adopting a pro-abortion stance without consulting the membership. So let’s call it 1-1.
This doesn’t prove that Miers is another break-even Republican nominee, and if we’re so inclined, we can “trust” that she’s not. But so far, unfortunately, we can’t “verify.”