President Bush says he is confident his pick for the nation's highest court will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, despite opposition from some prominent conservatives.
President Bush is standing by his choice of White House Council Harriet Miers to be the next Supreme Court Justice.
"She is going to be on the bench. She will be confirmed," he said. "And when she is on the bench, people will see a fantastic woman, who is honest, open, humble and capable of being a great Supreme Court judge."
President Bush has known Ms. Miers for more than 10 years, and says he is confident she will not legislate from the bench, but will instead strictly interpret the Constitution and laws as written.
This approach is important to social conservatives, who feel that some judges are unduly interfering in matters better left to state and local officials.
Ms. Miers has never been a judge, and has spent most of her career in corporate litigation. The absence of a so-called paper trail that might reveal her stand on divisive social issues has raised concerns among both Democrats and Republicans that they don't know enough about her.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan says that is the purpose of the confirmation process, for Senators to learn more about her. He is confident that, once they do, they will see what he calls an exceptionally well-qualified nominee, with enormous experience and a tremendous record of accomplishment.
Like all Supreme Court nominees, Ms. Miers is meeting with Senators ahead of her confirmation hearings. Republican Senator Sam Brownback met with Ms. Miers for an hour, and said he still thinks there is a lot to learn. He is particularly concerned about what her stand on abortion would be, and said she did not offer an opinion.
While some Republican legislators including Senator Brownback and Senator Trent Lott are questioning Ms. Miers' conservative credentials, none has come out publicly in opposition to her nomination.
That is not the case among some of Washington's most influential conservative columnists.
Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol says he is disappointed, depressed, and demoralized by the choice, calling her nomination a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president.
Conservative columnist George Will says there is no evidence that Ms. Miers is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence or that she poses talents commensurate with the tasks of the Supreme Court.
National Review writer David Frum, who is a former speechwriter for President Bush says there is scarcely a single knowledgeable legal conservative in Washington who supports this nomination.
But it is Senators, not opinion-makers who will vote on this nomination, and White House officials say they are focusing their attention on convincing Senators that Ms. Miers' conservatism will not weaken, once she is on the court.