Miers and the Public's Right to Know

NPR.org, October 20, 2005 · With a relatively limited public career, Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers will face questions from both sides of the aisle about her judicial philosophy when she appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Taking Issue asks whether justice is served when nominees refuse to answer questions about widely debated issues such as abortion and the death penalty. Does the public have a right to know where a nominee stands or does giving voice to an opinion compromise a judge's role as an impartial arbiter?

Neil S. Siegel

For Answers

Neil S. Siegel

"She should not be asked to give promises about how she would vote in particular cases… but there is no intellectually defensible reason for Miers to refuse to share her assessment of past Supreme Court decisions."

Neil S. Siegel is an assistant professor of law and political science at Duke Law School. Previously, he clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court of the United States.

Bruce Fein

For Reticence

Bruce Fein

"The independence of the Supreme Court and its check against executive abuses would be crippled if the President were permitted to extract commitments from nominees to further a political agenda."

Bruce Fein served associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan. He helped Sandra Day O'Connor prepare for her Senate confirmation hearings in 1981. He practices law in Washington, D.C.


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