Evangelical leader James C. Dobson revealed on his radio program what White House aid Karl Rove told him prior to the official nomination of Supreme Court candidate Harriet Miers.
In a pre-recorded broadcast released yesterday, Dobson said he had received information that she had been a member of a conservative Church that was "almost universally pro-life," that she had challenged the American Bar Association's pro-abortion stance, and that she had been a member of Texas Right to Life. He added that he did not discuss Miers' stance on Roe v. Wade in any context or was told how she would rule on upcoming cases.
The comments came after several senators had raised the possibility of calling Dobson to testify before the Judiciary Committee in charge of the upcoming Miers confirmation hearings. Dobson said that he could now reveal the content of his "confidential" conversation with Rove because the aide had said it was all right.
"I'm gonna tell them what I would say to them if I were sitting before the Judiciary Committee," Dobson said at the beginning of the broadcast, which was made available on the Focus on the Family website.
In a previous Focus on the Family radio show, Dobson had said that there were some things he could not tell and "probably shouldn't know" that led him to support Miers' nomination.
Some conservatives have opposed Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court because they say she has not compiled a track record on constitutional decisions since she has never been a judge. They also say that much of her previous casework as a lawyer in Dallas, Texas did not reveal much about her judicial philosophy on many of the current controversies in the courts.
While acknowledging these concerns, Dobson said he had two reasons for supporting Miers.
The first was because Rove informed him that her judicial philosophy would be in line with the public expectations of the President, who had promised to nominate "strict constructionist" candidates for the judiciary.
"Mr. Rove assured me in that telephone conversation that Harriet Miers fits that description and that the President knew her well enough to say so with complete confidence," he said on the radio program.
Secondly, Dobson said that upon Rove's suggestion, he contacted people who knew Miers to confirm that opinion.
"He suggested that I might want to validate that opinion by talking to people in Texas who knew Miers personally and he gave me the names of some individuals that I could call," Dobson explained. "I quickly followed up on that conversation and got glowing reports from a federal judge in Texas, Ed Kinkeade and a Texas Supreme Court justice, Nathan Hecht, who is highly respected and has known Harriet Miers for more than 25 years. And so, we talked to him and we talked to some others who are acquainted with Ms. Miers."
Dobson explained that one of the reasons why he had been able to say what the conversation consisted of is that the information he had learned had soon become public knowledge anyway, as the media discovered the facts he had been informed about.
He also mentioned something that he believed no one else knew regarding the other potential Supreme Court nominees. He says that Rove told him some of those previous nominees did not want to go through the confirmation process.
"Well, what Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter, that they didnt want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it," Dobson said.
Dobson also denied allegations by Sen. Patrick Leahy (R-Vt.)that he had received "private assurances of how she would vote."
He added that if the judiciary committee still wanted to call him to testify, he would not say anything he had already said on the radio program.
"I have nothing to hide and Ill be happy to come and talk to you. But I wont have anything to say that I havent just told millions of people," Dobson said. "And so, thats really the end of my statement.