The following is a transcript of Focus on the Family Chairman Dr. James Dobson's comments from Wednesday's [October 12, 2005] broadcast, in which he discusses what the White House told him about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers.
OPENING VOICE TRACK:
John Fuller: It's Wednesday. I'm John Fuller and you're tuned to "FOF" with psychologist and author, Dr. James Dobson. And Doctor, what a crazy week you've had!
JCD: Well, John, if our listeners and friends have been monitoring the news on radio and television and the Internet and if they have been listening to other talk shows in the past week, then they know well, that I have been a topic of conversation from the nation's Capitol to the tiniest burg and farming community. And the issue that's propelled this unprecedented interest in something that I've said is my conversation with Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, that occurred on October 1st, just a few days ago. And that was the day before President Bush made his decision to nominate White House Counsel, Harriet Miers, to be the next Justice of the Supreme Court.
Now, as you know and as I'm sure many of our listeners know, there are members of the judiciary committee who are running from one talk show to another, threatening to subpoena me to find out what occurred in that conversation with Karl Rove. And I am going to make their job easier (Laughter), because in the next few minutes, I'm gonna tell them what I would say to them if I were sitting before the judiciary committee. And this is the essence of what transpired between the Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House and me. So, is that clear?
John: I think that is. And for our listeners, you wouldn't believe all that's going on here at Focus, as so many of the mainstream media--most of the mainstream media--is contacting us. They, like those Senators, want to know, "What does Dr. Dobson know? What did he talk about? Tell us, please."
JCD: Well, John, I think it's time that I did that.
John: Okay, before you do though, it probably would be helpful for our listeners to understand why you can talk about that now and previously you couldn't.
JCD: Yeah, I haven't been willing to. The reason is because Karl Rove has now given me permission to go public with our conversation. And I'm gonna say a little more about that in a minute.
John: OK. Well, fill us in then on what happened.
JCD: Well, let me go back through the sequence of events and.and explain what happened. The President announced his decision on Monday morning, October 3rd, that Harriet Miers was his selection and the debate was on. And a few hours after that, many conservative Christian leaders were involved in a conference call, wherein some of those men and women were expressing great disillusionment with President Bush's decision and there was a lot of anger over his failure to select someone with a proven track record in the courts. And I came in a little bit late and I caught just a bit of that angst and then I shared my opinion, that Harriet Miers might well be more in keeping with our views than they might think and that I did believe that she was a far better choice than many of my colleagues were saying and that they obviously believed.
Well, my reasons for supporting her were two-fold, John.
First, because Karl Rove had shared with me her judicial philosophy which was consistent with the promises that President Bush had made when he was campaigning. Now he told the voters last year that he would select people to be on the Court who would interpret the law rather than create it and judges who would not make social policy from the bench. Most of all, the President promised to appoint people who would uphold the Constitution and not use their powers to advance their own political agenda. Now, Mr. Rove assured me in that telephone conversation that Harriet Miers fit that description and that the President knew her well enough to say so with complete confidence.
Then he suggested that I might want to validate that opinion by talking to people in Texas who knew Miers personally and he gave me the names of some individuals that I could call. And I quickly followed up on that conversation and got glowing reports from a federal judge in Texas, Ed Kinkeade and a Texas Supreme Court justice, Nathan Hecht, who is highly respected and has known Harriet Miers for more than 25 years. And so, we talked to him and we talked to some others who are acquainted with Ms. Miers.
So, I shared my findings with my colleagues, not only what I just mentioned, but other calls I made. I talked to Chuck Colson, my great friend, who is a constitutional attorney--
John: Uh-hm, uh-hm.
JCD: --and talked to him four times. He helped me kind of assimilate the information that we had garnered, but I would not say much about the phone call from Karl Rove, even though I'm very close to many of the people who are on the telephone. Why would I not do that? Because it was a confidential conversation and I've had a long-standing policy of not going out and revealing things that are said to me in confidence. That may come from my training as a psychologist, where you hear all sorts of things that you can't go out and talk about.
JCD: And I feel very strongly about that. And frankly, I think it's a mistake and maybe even an ethical problem for people to do that--to go out and brag about being a player on the national scene, maybe to make themselves to look important. You know, I just wish that didn't happen like it does and I certainly didn't want to be part of it.
So, I wouldn't reveal any of the details about the call, although I did say to these pro-family leaders, which has been widely quoted, that Karl had told me something that I probably shouldn't know. And you know, it really wasn't all that tantalizing, but I still couldn't talk about it.
And what I was referring to is the fact that on Saturday, the day before the President made his decision, I knew that Harrier Miers was at the top of the short list of names under consideration. And as you know, that information hadn't been released yet, and everyone in Washington and many people around the country wanted to know about it and the fact that he had shared with me is not something I wanted to reveal.
But we also talked about something else, and I think this is the first time this has been disclosed. Some of the other candidates who had been on that short list, and that many conservatives are now upset about were highly qualified individuals that had been passed over. Well, what Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter, that they didn't want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it.
So, even today, many conservatives and many of 'em friends of mine, are being interviewed on talk shows and national television programs. And they're saying, "Why didn't the President appoint so-and-so? He or she would have been great. They had a wonderful judicial record. They would have been the kind of person we've been hoping and working and praying for to be on the Court." Well, it very well may be that those individuals didn't want to be appointed.
John: For understandable reasons, because the grilling that they get in that confirmation process is just brutal.
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