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Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Miers, SCOTUS nominee of Bush

Who is Harriet Miers? Not a judge, and has a sketchy history.....


Bush picks insider for Supreme Court
Email this StoryOct 3, 9:06 AM (ET)

President Bush announces that he has picked White House counsel Harriet Miers (L) as the next...Full Image
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By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Monday nominated a member of his inner circle, White House counsel Harriet Miers, for a Supreme Court vacancy, choosing a woman with plenty of legal experience but who is not a judge to replace the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor.
Miers, 60, a longtime ally of Bush's going back to his days as Texas governor, would be the third woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court. The others are O'Connor and a current justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
O'Connor was a key swing vote on the closely divided Supreme Court and Democrats signaled Miers would undergo intense scrutiny at the U.S. Senate, which must confirm Bush's choice.
In an Oval Office ceremony with Miers at his side, Bush credited her with breaking down barriers to women in the Texas legal profession, becoming the first woman to head her Dallas law firm, the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association and the first woman elected president of the state bar of Texas.
"I believe that senators of both parties will find that Harriet Miers' talent, experience and judicial philosophy make her a superb choice to safeguard the constitutional liberties and quality of all Americans," Bush said.
He called on the Senate to conduct her confirmation hearings with "the same respect and civility" granted his nominee for U.S. chief justice, John Roberts, who was confirmed last week in time for the opening of the Supreme Court's new term on Monday.
New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer made clear he would pressure Miers to answer questions about her judicial philosophy.
Democrats were stung when Roberts, during his confirmation hearings, refused to say how he would rule on cases that came before the high court.
"We know even less about Harriet Miers than we did about John Roberts and because this is the critical swing seat on the court, Americans will need to know a lot more about Miers's judicial philosophy and legal background before any vote for confirmation," he said.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a pro-abortion group, expressed concern and demanded to know Miers' position on abortion.
"We expect Miers to make clear her views on reproductive rights during the hearing process, and the Senate should not confirm a nominee who is not willing to do so, said Karen Pearl, the group's interim president.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of a conservative group, the American Center for Law and Justice, said Bush showed exceptional judgment with the choice.
"At a time when the high court is facing some of the most critical issues of the day -- including a number of cases dealing directly with abortion and life issues -- the person who replaces Justice O'Connor is critical," he said.
Bush said Miers would not legislate from the bench and would strictly interpret the Constitution, his code language for a conservative philosophy.
"I ask the Senate to review her qualifications thoroughly and fairly and to vote on her nomination promptly," he said.
Miers said she looked forward to the confirmation process.
"If confirmed I recognize that I will have a tremendous responsibility to keep our judicial system strong and to help ensure that the courts meet their obligations to strictly apply the laws in the Constitution," she said.
A senior administration official said the name of Miers came up in consultations with both Republican and Democratic senators as someone who could win bipartisan support.
The official also said some senators from both parties thought it was important for Bush to pick someone who was not a judge and could offer a different perspective on the job.
Bush offered her the job on Sunday night over dinner at the White House residence, the official said.



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