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Bush chooses White House counsel Harriett Miers for Supreme Court

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usbush1004,0,2695312.story?coll=ny-top-headlines Bush chooses White House counsel Harriett Miers for Supreme
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2005

      Bush chooses White House counsel Harriett Miers for
      Supreme Court


      October 3, 2005, 7:25 AM EDT

      WASHINGTON -- President Bush has chosen Harriet Miers,
      White House counsel and a loyal member of the
      president's inner circle, to replace retiring Justice
      Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, a senior
      administration official said Monday.

      If confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate,
      Miers, 60, would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as
      the second woman on the nation's highest court.

      Miers, who has never been a judge, was the first woman
      to serve as president of the Texas State Bar and the
      Dallas Bar Association.

      Without a judicial record, it's difficult to know
      whether Miers would dramatically move the court to the
      right. She would fill the shoes of O'Connor, a swing
      voter on the court for years who has cast deciding
      votes on some affirmative action, abortion and death
      penalty cases.

      Known for thoroughness and her low-profile, Miers is
      one of the first staff members to arrive at the White
      House in the morning and among the last to leave.

      When Bush named her White House counsel in November
      2004, the president described Miers as a lawyer with
      keen judgment and discerning intellect -- "a trusted
      adviser on whom I have long relied for straightforward

      He also joked of Miers, "When it comes to a
      cross-examination, she can filet better than Mrs.

      Miers has been leading the White House effort to help
      Bush choose nominees to the Supreme Court, so getting
      the nod herself duplicates a move that Bush made in
      2000 when he tapped the man leading his search
      committee for a vice presidential running mate -- Dick

      Conservatives call Miers a top-notch lawyer who
      understands the limited role they say judges should
      play in society. In nominating Miers, they say Bush is
      reaffirming his commitment to picking judges who will
      respect the letter of the law and not allow cultural
      or social trends sway their opinions.

      "Harriet Miers is a top-notch lawyer who understands
      the limited role that judges play in our society,"
      said Noel Francisco, former assistant White House
      counsel and deputy assistant attorney general during
      the Bush administration. "In nominating Ms. Miers, the
      president has reaffirmed his commitment to appointing
      judges who will respect the rule of law and not
      legislate from the bench."

      With no record, liberals say the White House should be
      prepared for Miers to be peppered with questions
      during her Senate confirmation.

      "Choosing somebody who is not a judge would put that
      much more of a premium on straight answers to
      questions because there would be that much less for
      senators and the public to go on when looking at such
      a nominee's judicial philosophy," says Elliot
      Mincberg, counsel with the liberal People for the
      American Way.

      Formerly Bush's personal lawyer in Texas, Miers came
      with the president to the White House as his staff
      secretary, the person in charge of all the paperwork
      that crosses the Oval Office desk. Miers was promoted
      to deputy chief of staff in June 2003.

      Miers, a single, soft-spoken woman who guards her
      personal privacy, has led a trailblazing career. She
      grew up in Dallas, earning her undergraduate and law
      degrees from Southern Methodist University.

      As an attorney in Dallas, Miers became president in
      1996 of Locke Purnell, Rain & Harrell a firm with more
      than 200 lawyers where she worked starting in 1972.
      After it merged a few years later, she became
      co-manager of Locke Liddell & Sapp.

      When Bush was governor of Texas, she represented him
      in a case involving a fishing house. In 1995, he
      appointed her to a six-year term on the Texas Lottery

      She also served as a member-at-large on the Dallas
      City Council. In 1992, she became the first women
      president of the Texas State Bar. She was the first
      woman of the Dallas Bar Association in 1985.

      Pete Shane, a law professor at The Ohio State
      University, predicted that "it's going to be a long
      drawn-out exercise."

      Noting criticism of Bush's choice of Michael Brown to
      head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a man
      who was later demoted and then resigned after a
      sluggish governmental response to Hurricane Katrina,
      Shane said of Bush: "He's going to pick his best
      friend in the White House counsel's office to be on
      the Supreme Court? It seems like a flat-footed thing
      to do."
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