I just had an eerie realization about one possible direction the Miers nomination might go in. James Dobson has received private information that he says he probably shouldn't know. Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy have indicated that they would be willing to call him as a witness at the hearings to get that information out of him. I wonder if that's a good idea. It's clear that this piece of information is reassuring to Dobson that she'll vote the way he wants. It's not at all clear that it's what Specter and Leahy suspect it is. They seem to be thinking of it as some simple statement that she's made in the presence of Rove or someone he knows about how she would vote in particular cases. What's more likely is that it's a general perspective sort of thing that doesn't indicate how she would vote in particular cases but gives a strong inkling that it would be in a very conservative direction. Given what I'm about to say, I really hope it's just that.
What's just possible is that it's some very private piece of information that Senator Specter and Senator Leahy might not want to force out into the open if they knew what it was. It might well be about some past experience she had with abortion, maybe even way back in her youth before her evangelical and political conversions, and her current attitude about it is that she wishes abortion had never been legal for it to have been an option. Or maybe it's about someone very close to her in a way that affected her deeply, but the information doesn't make sense as an explanation for why it might somewhat reassure Dobson unless he had to explain some very personal details. Maybe Rove wasn't supposed to know this piece of information himself but passed it along in the interest of getting some key conservative leaders behind the nomination. I don't even want to think about any such possibilities, but I got chills when I realized that the way Dobson described it could just as easily mean something like this as it could something like what Leahy and Specter have in mind.
If they're wrong, and my fear is correct, then these senators might be about to do something that would undermine the very right to privacy that they so loudly base their view of the legal right to abortion on to begin with. This could be a dangerous direction to push, particularly from pro-choice senators. I hope it's just some general perspective thing that doesn't guarantee a particular vote on any case but makes a certain tendency likely. If it's not, and something very personal like this, then whoever ends up calling Dobson to the stand is really going to regret it.