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Nina Totenberg

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Survey: Miers Supported Banning Most Abortions

Survey: Miers Supported Banning Most Abortions

Nina Totenberg

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White House Counsel Harriet Miers, President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court.

White House Counsel Harriet Miers, President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, walks in the halls of Capitol Hill, Oct. 6. Reuters hide caption

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While running for Dallas City Council in 1989, Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers promised to "actively support" a constitutional amendment to ban abortions except in cases when the life of the mother is at risk.

Responding to a candidate survey from the anti-abortion group Texans United for Life, Miers marked "yes" to 10 questions designed to gauge respondents' support for anti-abortion measures. Among those, Miers indicated she would back a "Human Life Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, oppose the use of public money for abortions, and that she would participate in "pro-life rallies and special events."

New Background on Miers

The Senate Judiciary Committee has released material provided by the White House on Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. (Source: AP)

Her responses to the one-page questionnaire are the clearest indication thus far of Miers' views on the subject of abortion. The White House furnished the document Tuesday as part of a dozen-box collection of papers submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The survey — in combination with other documents offering clues to her views on flashpoint issues such as the rights of people with AIDS — is likely to prompt questions from senators already concerned that Miers' lack of experience as a judge leaves them without a sufficient paper trail to decide whether to approve her nomination.

Also submitted was another survey from the 1989 city council campaign in which she indicated opposition to city ordinances that would force businesses to hire or accommodate people with AIDS. She declined to answer a subsequent question from the Dallas Eagle Forum, a conservative political action committee, about whether she supported an ordinance banning the City of Dallas from hiring companies that did business with South Africa (when that country's former Apartheid government was still in power).

Along with the boxes of documents, Miers submitted a 57-page questionnaire, in which she said no one on the White House selection committee had asked her how she might rule on specific cases. She also wrote that White House officials had asked her whether she wanted to be included in the list of potential candidates when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her resignation in July. "I indicated at that time that I did not want to be considered," she wrote on the questionnaire.

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