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Conservatives concerned about Miers

Perkins of Family Research Council explains dismay at Bush's court pick
/ Source: msnbc.com

While many Republicans are applauding President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, some heavyweights in his own party are not happy.

"I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized," said William Kristol, editor of the 'Weekly Standard.'

Said conservative activist Richard Viguerie: "Conservatives feel betrayed. ... Liberals have successfully cowed President Bush."

And in an editorial in the 'National Review,' the magazine called the choice "a missed opportunity."

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, joined MSNBC's Randy Meier on Tuesday to talk about the nomination and why so many conservatives expected something different.

"I think there is a lot of confidence in this president's track record. However, the moment that millions of Americans have worked for in the trenches over the years -- they were expecting a picture not of Republican and Democratic senators holding hands around the nominee singing Kumbaya -- they were expecting somebody who clearly would stop the judicial activism that is threatening this country. That's not evident in this case," Perkins explained.

"This is kind of like a judicial pick out of the 'Highlights' magazine when you're a kid," Perkins continued. "You have got to pick through the picture to find the hidden elements."

Although Perkins said he is happy with the president's track record of picking judges, that isn't enough to satisfy him when it comes to the little-known Miers.

"I think there was an expectation that there would not have to be any guessing in this case," he said. "This is something that conservatives have looked for and labored for for many years - an opportunity to see the court shift back from being an activist court that threatens the direction of this country to a court that understands its limited role," he said.

"We may have that. We don't know."

When the hearings start, Perkins said he didn't expect conservative senators to extract exact positions on issues from Meirs, rather her judicial philosophy.

"In this case, unlike John Roberts, there's no paper trail. She doesn't have opinions, she didn't sit on the bench, limited writings, no public speeches. So we're not certain what her philosophy is," he said. "All we really have to stand on in this case is the president's track record of making good appointments."

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