Ask Harriet Miers: Which "Warren" did you have in mind?

Patrick Leahy asks the Supreme Court nominee to name her favorite justices. Did she have an answer?

Published October 7, 2005 4:05PM (EDT)

Say what you will about John G. Roberts, when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the man clearly knew his stuff. When Roberts deigned to answer questions that were asked of him, he displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of constitutional law as well as the finer points of Supreme Court decisions both important and obscure.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Harriet Miers is no John Roberts.

When Miers stopped by for a visit with Patrick Leahy yesterday, the Washington Post says, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her to name her favorite Supreme Court justices. Miers might have seen the question coming: When Leahy announced that he would vote in favor of Roberts' confirmation, he stressed how impressed he was when Roberts had told him that he admired the late Justice Robert Jackson.

So what did Miers say when Leahy asked her to name her favorite justices?


Leahy was perplexed. Did Miers mean Earl Warren, the former California governor who helped steer the Supreme Court to the left in the 1950s and 1960s? Or did she mean Warren Burger, the conservative chief justice who voted with the majority in Roe v. Wade? Miers assured Leahy that she was referring to Warren Burger.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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