Canton Repository

October 28, 2005

Miers’ exit disturbs DeWine, Voinovich

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - Ohio’s two senators, who both supported U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee Harriet Miers, expressed surprise and dismay after she withdrew her nomination Thursday.

“I’m sorry that she did not get the opportunity to have her hearing,” said Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Cedarville.

DeWine, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not have any role in pressuring her to withdraw and was surprised to learn she had, his spokesman Jeff Sadosky said.

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, also wished Miers would have been able to discuss her qualifications before the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate, he said.

DeWine, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which reviews and votes on judicial nominations, was one of the first senators to meet with Miers.

Emerging from that Oct. 5 meeting, DeWine described the White House counsel as an “excellent pick.” He argued Miers had an unusually varied background as a lawyer and was a pioneer in achieving leadership roles as a woman attorney.

But some lawmakers, conservative intellectuals and Republicans who support Bush joined in questioning her credentials for the nation’s highest court. She has never served as a judge and has little background in constitutional law, critics said.

DeWine said he accepts the administration’s claim that Miers withdrew over expectations the Senate would insist on getting confidential White House records shedding light on Miers’ judicial views.

The White House opposes giving up those records, an action that Bush said Thursday would “undermine a president’s ability to receive candid counsel.”

Some Democrats charged that Bush withdrew the nomination to placate what they termed “right wing” critics.

DeWine said most conservatives he spoke with in Ohio either were taking a wait-and-see attitude about Miers or “would say to me, ‘Look, I don’t know her but I trust the president and I support the president and I’m going to support his nominee because I think the president knows her.’ ”

Voinovich suggested senators in his own party failed to give Miers a fitting reception.

“I am hopeful that the president’s next nominee will be treated with the respect that he or she deserves,” he said in a written statement.

Voinovich spokeswoman Marcie Ridgway said Miers “didn’t get the respect that any nominee deserves and especially ... from the president’s own party.”