Some explaining to do

Ed Whelan, a former Scalia law clerk and the head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argues that Harriet Miers should withdraw. Until now, Ed has been giving the White House “the benefit of the doubt” on this nomination. However, a 1993 speech by Miers, reported on in today’s Washington Post, moved Ed into the “withdraw” column.

I’d be happy to see Miers withdraw. However, the speech is 12 years old, and Miers should be given the opportunity, if she wants it, to say whether or to what extent she agrees with the views she expressed in 1993. If her views have changed, she should describe her current position and explain what caused the conversion.

UPDATE: Here is the speech. Whelan’s analysis of the speech for NRO is here.

FURTHER UPDATE: I’ve found the time to read Miers’ speech carefully. This is not the speech of a centrist (the worst case plausible scenario, I thought); it’s the speech of a liberal. The behavior of liberal Senate Democrats over recent years relieves conservative Republican Senators of any obligation to vote for the confirmation of nominees who take positions like the ones Miers sets forth in this speech (e.g., “abortion clinic protesters have become synonymous with terrorists” or, in the context of the abortion debate, “where science cannot determine the facts and decisions vary based upon religious belief, then government should not act”).

Miers should withdraw. If she doesn’t then, absent convincing evidence that her positions today are completely different from the liberal ones contained in the 1993 speech, the Senate should not confirm her.

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