Who made the most sense, by all means add comments it was a real interesting back and forth. Pat Buchanan may be on the outs on this board but he did come off as winning the idea battle from the side of the conservatives, while Dr. Land imho came off tenative and unsure. imho PRES. BUSH: I know her well enough to say that she's not going to change, that 20 years from now, she'll be same person with the same philosophy that she is today. Story continues below MR. RUSSERT: Well, that's not always the case. Exhibit A: former Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark explains how sitting on the Court can change one's outlook right here on MEET THE PRESS, April 19, 1970. (Videotape, April 19, 1970): JUSTICE TOM CLARK: Something behind your chair you notice sort of nudges you now and then. (End videotape) MR. RUSSERT: But, first, why is the conservative political community so divided over President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court? With us, two prominent conservatives with very different views. Dr. Richard Land, Mr. Pat Buchanan, welcome both. MR. PAT BUCHANAN: Thank you, Tim. MR. RUSSERT: Pat Buchanan, George W. Bush is a conservative. He nominated Harriet Miers, a conservative to the Supreme Court. You're a conservative. Why don't you support her? MR. BUCHANAN: Tim, Ms. Miers' qualifications for the Supreme Court are utterly non-existent. She has not only not ruled or written on any of the great controversies of our time on religion or faith, morality. She has shown no interest in them in 40 years. This is a faith-based initiative. The president of the United States is saying, "Trust me." And when you have the decisive vote on the United States Supreme Court, that is not enough. We've had five nominees. I could go down the list of them, the last of them being Souter, where conservatives have trusted presidents of the United States. We had an outstanding bench of conservatives, of traditionalists who had the right judicial philosophy and President Bush ducked the fight. MR. RUSSERT: Dr. Land, why do you support Ms. Miers? DR. RICHARD LAND: Because I trust the president and this president is not those previous presidents. George W. Bush, if he's anything, is a man of his word. And if there's any issue that he's earned the trust of conservatives on, it's this issue. He has held steadfast and put up stellar nominees in the face of unprecedented opposition from the Daschle-led clack in the Senate and never backed down, never blinked, never flinched. He picked a person he's known for 15 years, and I believe he picked her because he knows her that well and he knows that she will vote the way he would want her to vote. MR. RUSSERT: In fact, there was a conference call on Thursday, originated by the White House, someone who claims to have been on the call has shared notes of that with the People for the American Way who've now put it on their Web site. And it has under Dr. Richard Land, you say, "I am from Texas. George W. Bush is from Texas and Harriet Miers is from Texas. And in Texas, we have two important values, courage and loyalty. If Harriet Miers didn't rule the way George W. Bush thought she would, he would see that as an act of betrayal and so would she." Is that accurate? DR. LAND: It is. It's substantially accurate. I didn't say that those were the only two values. But those are two very important values. And if someone is disloyal, if someone betrays a trust, in Texas, they're right down there with child molesters and ax murderers. And I'm absolutely convinced this president believes absolutely in his heart, and this is not David Souter. George Bush 41 didn't know David Souter from Adam's cat until John Sununu introduced him. The president has known this woman. She's been intimately involved in the selection process for the last five years. MR. RUSSERT: If Harriet Miers on the Court voted not to overturn Roe v. Wade, would that be a betrayal of trust? DR. LAND: Well, that depends on the case. You know, they're supposed to interpret the Constitution. I believe that she will be open to doing if it's the right case. I think I'd give the same answer with John Roberts. We want Supreme Court justices who will understand their client is the Constitution and they're going to interpret the law; they're not going to try to write the law from the bench. And I believe, given the right case, she will vote to overturn--if it's the right case. I'm--I'll make a prediction for you. When she's confirmed, over the next five years, she and John Roberts will disagree about 1 percent of the time. MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that Roe v. Wade will be overturned if Roberts and Miers are both on the Court, eventually? DR. LAND: That depends on who the next nominee is. If my arithmetic's right, even if they both voted to overturn Roe with the right case, Kennedy would be the swing vote, and I don't think Kennedy would vote to do it. It's going to have to be one additional justice. MR. RUSSERT: Here's what's concerning to many people, and this is from E.J. Dionne's column in The Washington Post. "Rather mysteriously, [Dr. James] Dobson"--of Focus on the Family--"who was briefed on the nomination by Bush's chief lieutenant, Karl Rove, told [Fox News]: `I do know things that I am not prepared to talk about here.' He was equally cagey with The New York Times: `Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about.' The intrigue whetted the curiosity of Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), who said that `if the White House gives information to James Dobson, that information should be shared equally with the U.S. Senate.'" Did anyone from the White House suggest to you that Ms. Miers has expressed a view about abortion as opposition to Roe v. Wade? DR. LAND: No, not to me. MR. RUSSERT: No? Nothing. DR. LAND: No. The--and I don't know what Dr. Dobson's talking about. You'd have to ask him that question. When Karl Rove called me on Monday morning, he just told me who it was and told me the president had absolute confidence in her and gave me some of her background and some of the people that I knew in Dallas that knew her and who would vouch for her. But let me make one thing perfectly clear. I think that John Roberts' devout Catholicism and Harriet Miers' strong evangelical beliefs should be irrelevant--irrelevant--when it comes to judging cases before the Supreme Court. In politicians, in governors and senators and congressmen, it's very important, and they have a right to bring their faith convictions to bear on public policy. But when it comes to judges, they must set aside their personal convictions and rule based on the law. MR. RUSSERT: Pat Robertson, however, said that it is important that--evangelical beyond the Court. It seems as if Republicans are saying it's now important to use religion as opposed to when Catholicism was brought up with John Roberts; conservatives said, "That's not fair game." DR. LAND: Oh, I think whether she's an evangelical or whether John Roberts is a Catholic or whether someone is of another faith should be irrelevant when it comes to their qualifications for the Supreme Court. MR. RUSSERT: Pat Buchanan, the National Right to Life Committee has endorsed Harriet Miers. The Associated Press wrote about her record this way: "On the issue that commands the most attention for Court nominees, Miers pressed unsuccessfully to have the American Bar Association put its policy in favor of abortion rights to a vote of the membership, showing a sensitivity, at least, to the anti-abortion movement, if not outright support of it. [Judge Nathan] Hecht said she has attended an evangelical church in Dallas, the Valley View Christian Church, for 25 years and `their position is pro-life and I'm sure her views are compatible.' Miers bought a $150 ticket to a Texas anti-abortion group's fund-raising dinner in 1989, the year she won a term on the Dallas City Council..." We can show you that program from that dinner, Texans United for Life, Harriet Miers, Dallas City Council. She is a bronze patron supporting that right-to-life dinner. And then this: "As political activists rush to mine Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' slender public record, a former campaign manager says she opposed abortion rights while running for Dallas City Council in 1989. `She is on the extreme end of the anti-choice movement,' said Lorlee Bartos, who managed Ms. Miers' first and only political campaign and said they discussed abortion once during the race. ... Ms. Bartos said Ms. Miers was supportive of abortion rights in her youth. She said Ms. Miers then underwent `a born-again, profound experience' that caused her to oppose abortion." Isn't that good enough for you? MR. BUCHANAN: Listen, there's a possibility she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. But what we've heard here, Tim, is "trust, believe." Why should we take this risk? Anti-communism and the Supreme Court are the great causes of conservatism in my lifetime. Ronald Reagan led us to victory in the Cold War. We were on the precipice of victory in the battle to return the Supreme Court to constitutionalism. And the president of the United States picks a woman with no known judicial philosophy who has never taken a stand on any of these great questions, who has never written or said anything about Supreme Court rulings, and we have been told to take it on faith. At the same time, we have half a dozen nominees. You've got Luttig, you've got Priscilla Owens, Janice Rogers Brown, Alito, countless others we've been preparing, if you will, and grooming, who have taken heat, who have taken abuse for their beliefs and convictions, who are as certain in their judicial philosophy as Robert Bork was, and then we are handed a tabula rasa, a blank slate whose commendation, according to White House briefers, is she's never taken a stand. This White House has ducked the fight. It has backed away from a fight. The president has recoiled from greatness. He has retreated from Reaganism into the old politics of compromise and consensus on what for us was the greatest issue of his second term. I think, in a minor matter, he has probably risked his legacy. But more important, he has risked what some of us have fought for for 40 years since I was with Richard Nixon. MR. RUSSERT: On Tuesday, the president had a a news conference and Kelly O'Donnell of NBC kept asking him whether he'd ever talked to Harriet Miers about abortion and here's part of that discussion. (Videotape, Tuesday): PRES. BUSH: In my interviews with any judge, I never ask their personal opinion on the subject of abortion. MS. KELLY O'DONNELL: Even in your friendship with her, you've never discussed it? PRES. BUSH: Not to my recollection have I ever sat down with her. What I have done is understand the type of person she is and the type of judge she will be. (End videotape) MR. RUSSERT: Now, she was deputy chief of staff during the entire partial-birth abortion discussion, debate, when the president signed the legislation. Could it be the president never talked about abortion with Harriet Miers even during that debate and discussion in the Oval Office? DR. LAND: You'd have to ask the president that question. I mean, you know, the president says that he's never asked her about those issues, and I take his word for it, to the best of his recollection. But I will say this, and I want to reiterate this, I have checked this with my White House sources. This woman was very much involved, intimately involved, in the vetting process for the stellar list of nominees the president has put forward, again and again and again, put forward nominees that are strict constructionists, original intent jurists, and never backed away even in the face of an unprecedented filibuster under Daschle and Leahy. He never backed down. And, you know, the idea that George W. Bush shies away from a fight, I don't think so. MR. RUSSERT: Patrick Buchanan, the president's saying he never discussed abortion with Harriet Miers. MR. BUCHANAN: I find that--well, look, I'm not going to challenge the president's word. But look, I mean, I still don't understand why, when you have someone as solid as you have, you would choose someone with a complete blank slate. The president said this the most qualified person to serve on the Supreme Court. Why then was she passed over for counsel? Why was she just a staff secretary? Tim, on abortion, I am not sure the president the United States wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned. His wife does not, his mother does not. He refuses to say whether he wants to say whether he wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned. There are a number of Republicans, moderate Republicans, who say, "Well this would be a political disaster." I'm not sure the president of the United States wants the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. MR. RUSSERT: What do you... MR. BUCHANAN: And the president ought to answer that question. DR. LAND: I am. I am. I'm absolutely certain. MR. RUSSERT: Has he ever told you that? DR. LAND: No. But I... MR. RUSSERT: How do you know? DR. LAND: I know how he feels about abortion. I've talked to him about it. I've seen the look in his eyes. I've seen the anguish in his face, the pain in his heart. This, for him, is not just a moral issue. It is a deep issue of conviction. And he wants to see this decision returned to the people of the United States. Let's do understand now, if Roe v.... MR. RUSSERT: This is very important. Then in your mind, Doctor, he would be disappointed if Harriet Miers did not vote that way on the Supreme Court? DR. LAND: Given the right case, yes. Given the right case, given the--you know let's do understand it has been the law of the land since 1973. But so had Plessy v. Ferguson for 58 years before Brown v. the Board of Education. MR. RUSSERT: I want to talk about some of the conservatives in this country and some of the things they've said. Here's Rush Limbaugh. "This is a pick that was made from weakness." Peggy Noonan, who wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush: "...the Miers pick was another administration misstep. The president misread the field, the players, their mood and attitude. He called the play, they looked up from the huddle and balked. And debated. And dissed. Momentum was lost. The quarterback looked foolish." Trent Lott, former majority leader: "Is she qualified for her experience? Is she the most qualified? Clearly, the answer to that is no. There are a lot more people--men, women and minorities--that are more qualified in my opinion by their experience than she is." Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard: "I'm disappointed, depressed, demoralized." Charles Krauthammer: "Withdraw This Nominee. If Harriet Miers were not a crony of the president of the United States, her nomination to the Supreme Court would be a joke, as it would have occurred to no one else to nominate her." And finally, George Will: "It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the Court's role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends." Those are all conservatives, all supporters, believers of George W. Bush. What happened? DR. LAND: Well, all I can say is that it has the scent and whiff of elitism about it. You know, you don't have to go--I'm a graduate of Princeton and I just want to say, you don't have to go to an Ivy League school to be on the Supreme Court. I think this woman is a woman of enormous accomplishment. I think she's going to do an excellent job in the hearings. People who know her, that I knew in Dallas when I lived there, say she's one of the most impressive women they know. She overcame a great deal of sexual prejudice to get to where she's gotten to in life. She has the president's absolute confidence. And, you know, I think we need to remember here that President George W. Bush selected a person who he knows better than anyone else in the legal community in the United States with the possible exception of Alberto Gonzales. And I'm absolutely convinced he is convinced--absolutely convinced how she will rule on the Court. She'll be a strict constructionist, original intent. And I'll go back to my prediction: Five years from now, there'll be less than a 1 percent disagreement rate between Roberts and Miers. MR. RUSSERT: According to The Washington Post this morning, Senator Pat Leahy asked Ms. Miers who was her favorite Supreme Court justice. And she answered Warren. And he said, "Earl Warren?" And she said, "No, Warren Burger." Warren Burger of the Burger Court, Burger who voted, as you know, in support of Roe v. Wade. Does that trouble you? DR. LAND: It does. But I--once again, I don't know Harriet Miers. I know George W. Bush. And I'm trusting George W. Bush. He understands--we all understand--his legacy depends on this nomination. MR. RUSSERT: Pat Buchanan, one thing that no one's ever called you is an elitist. MR. BUCHANAN: That's right. MR. RUSSERT: Kay Bailey Hutchison said this: "Five of the nine justices graduated from Harvard University, another one from Yale, another one from Columbia. I don't think you have to be from an Ivy League institution to be qualified for the Supreme Court." MR. BUCHANAN: You don't have to be. Priscilla Owens from Baylor. Look, the president says, "Trust me." Ronald Reagan said, "Trust but verify." What this shows on the part of the president, in my judgment, is a lack of seriousness. We have 55 Republican senators. You've got two or three Democrats who almost have to vote for a Luddite. You've got the House and the Senate, you've got the president. We are at this point of battle where we have some of the finest jurists in the country who have stood the test, who've shown the moral courage of a Thomas. And he passes them all over for his personal attorney, who has a complete tabula rasa. That suggests to me either that Bush has contempt for the conservative community, he doesn't care about their issues or he does not want the fight. Politically, Tim, why would a president go along with Harry Reid to avoid a fight and ignite the kind of fight he's got with his own political base? Again, it suggests he does not understand the gravity of the issues that are being decided. MR. RUSSERT: Is there a concern in the White House because of the war in Iraq, because of the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, because of the Tom DeLay indictment, the investigation of Bill Frist... MR. BUCHANAN: Right. MR. RUSSERT: ...the CIA leak case, the president didn't want another political fight? MR. BUCHANAN: That is certainly speculation and surmise, and it may be true. Tim, but that shows a lack of understanding of politics. What you do in a time like this is pick a battleground on philosophy and principle and rally your troops and create political capital. This was a golden teaching opportunity, a golden political opportunity, and a golden opportunity in terms of the Supreme Court, and the president blew it. MR. RUSSERT: Dr. Land, in all honesty, isn't there somebody else in the conservative judicial circles that you would feel is more qualified, more schooled in constitutional law, more thought-out and has written on these subjects than Harriet Miers? DR. LAND: Possibly. But I'm not the president of the United States. And that's the president's decision in terms of nomination. And I think the president has picked the person that he believes will most reflect his judicial philosophy and is least likely to be--to be influenced by the Eastern establishment, by The New York Times opinion of them over the next 20 years. I'm absolutely convinced that the president--you know, he's the one that's been elected by the American people to make this choice. He has made it and, as I've said before, given his track record over the last four and a half years, he deserves better from the conservative community than he's getting in terms of trust. MR. RUSSERT: But he has said he knows for certain that Harriet Miers will not change in the next 20 years. Twenty years ago, she was a Roman Catholic and she was a Democrat. She's now an evangelical Christian and a Republican. So she has the capacity to change. DR. LAND: Yes, she--that was a long time ago. She's now a mature woman. He's worked with her on virtually a daily basis. She was intimately involved over the last four and half years in all of the vetting of the John Roberts and the Michael Luttigs and the Priscilla Owens and the Janice Rogers Browns and part of the process that sent them back to the Senate for confirmation after they were filibustered. MR. RUSSERT: Pat Buchanan, a long time ago, 1990, you were on a program called "Crossfire." You were talking about David Souter. And this is what you said. "I think you can look at that guy and you know we're A-OK." MR. BUCHANAN: I initially wrote something against Souter. I got a call from the White House, someone as high almost as the chief of staff, and I was told this is fine. This is a good choice. This is a decision--you can rely upon it. We did and look what happened to us. Nope, this is--look, the president of the United States--and I agree with Dr. Land, who's made some outstanding choices to the bench and Roberts was an outstanding choice. This does not remotely measure up when you have someone who has not even spoken a word or taken a stand in 40 years? Tim, on all these great constitutional questions that have roiled us, sometimes party loyalty asks too much. MR. RUSSERT: Should he withdraw the nomination? MR. BUCHANAN: I would like to see the nomination withdrawn. If I were in the Senate today, I would vote against it. I think that she has to make the case on the Judiciary Committee, to the country, that she has the strength of character and the judicial philosophy both to stand up to the kind of heat she will get and only then would I vote to support her. MR. RUSSERT: Should she say before that committee, "I will overturn Roe v. Wade because it was not correctly decided"? MR. BUCHANAN: I think she should not necessarily say she will overturn Roe v. Wade. She should stand up and say, "In my judgment Roe v. Wade was a judicial abomination. It's been settled law for 33 years. I will take a look at cases that come before the Supreme Court, but I cannot tell you how I will rule on it, but it was an abomination." MR. RUSSERT: Should she say that? DR. LAND: That depends on whether it would then require her to recuse herself. She shouldn't say anything in the hearings that would require her to recuse herself when cases come before the Court that deal with Roe. MR. RUSSERT: Will she be confirmed? DR. LAND: I believe she will be. MR. RUSSERT: Will she be confirmed? MR. BUCHANAN: My guess is she will not be confirmed and she may be withdrawn. MR. RUSSERT: To be continued. Pat Buchanan, Richard Land, thank you very much.