Ensign Backs Off Support For Miers

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Sen. John Ensign said Tuesday he has "a lot
of questions" to ask Harriet Miers and won't vote to confirm her
just because President Bush says she'll make a good Supreme Court
The Nevada Republican also said that much of the criticism of
Miers has been "unfair" but that he understands why some fellow
conservatives want assurances she will not turn into a "judicial
activist" on the high court.
"I think this is too big of a vote just to trust the president
or anybody else," said Ensign, who remains undecided about Bush's
latest nominee.
"This is something each individual senator has to vote their
conscience on," he said from Washington D.C. Tuesday on a
satellite television hookup with KRNV-TV's "Nevada Newsmakers."
"That is exactly what I'm going to do based on what I hear from
Harriet Miers during the hearings and in my private conversations
with her," he said.
Ensign said he expects to meet with Miers personally next week.
"I have a lot of questions for her," he said. "What I want to
hear is how does she look at the (U.S.) Constitution? Does she look
at it as the role of a judge and the role of the judiciary to
interpret the Constitution instead of making laws?"
Ensign said the Constitution makes it clear the role of
lawmaking is reserved for Congress as the legislative branch of
"Unfortunately, for the last 50 years the judiciary has become
the lawmakers in and of themselves," he said.
Ensign said Tuesday he believes some conservatives have
criticized Miers because they "were looking for somebody that they
knew something about."
"Because too many times in the past when Supreme Court justices
have been put up, they were portrayed to be one way and they turned
out to be a completely different justice once they got on the
court," he said.
"Conservatives were looking for somebody that they could count
on, that they were not going to be a judicial activist.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case with several of the
recent nominations," he said.
"That's why I've taken a wait-and-see attitude. I want to giver
her her fair day. Let's have the hearing process play out. Let's
find out what she is really made of."
Ensign, who calls himself a Christian and regularly attends
church, is an abortion opponent.
Conservative religious leaders contend they have received
assurances that Miers opposes abortion, and information released
Tuesday by senators showed that in 1989 Miers pledged support for a
possible constitutional amendment that would ban abortions except
when necessary to save the life of the mother.