October 3, 2005

"She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."

From ABC News:
Miers was Bush's personal lawyer in Texas and took on the tough job of cleaning up the Texas Lottery when he was governor. She followed him to Washington, first serving as White House staff secretary and then deputy chief of staff before being named to replace Alberto Gonzales, who was named U.S. attorney general, as counsel to the president.

Born and raised in Dallas, Miers, 60, earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a law degree from Southern Methodist University. In addition to her legal career, she served one term on the Dallas City Council.

The White House and Miers' supporters praise her as a trailblazer and a pioneer in the legal field. The first woman hired by the prestigious Dallas law firm Locke Purnell Boren Laney & Neely, she also was the first female president of the Dallas Bar Association and the first female president of the Texas Bar Association.

Miers met Bush in the 1980s, according to published reports, and was counsel for his 1994 campaign for governor. He appointed her chair of the Texas Lottery Commission in 1995. Miers then was president of Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell and co-managing partner of Locke Liddell & Sapp before she joined the White House in 2001....

Miers, who has never been married and does not have any children, is known for putting in long hours without complaint. She has revealed little about her own emotions or ideology, but has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush administration on a broad number of initiatives including tax cuts, Social Security reforms, restrictions on federal spending on embryonic stem-cell research, national security, education reforms and fighting terrorism.

According to a blog by former White House speechwriter David Frum, Miers has been known for her loyalty and will not make headlines as a Supreme Court associate justice.

"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met," Frum's blog said. "She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions — or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect."
Never married? Interesting. Is anyone going to say anything about that? Thinks Bush is the most brilliant man she had ever met? Well, that's just weird. Or, really, sycophantic.

Let's check out that Frum blog:
The Miers nomination ... is an unforced error. Unlike the Roberts's nomination, which confirmed the previous balance on the Court, the O'Connor resignation offered an opportunity to change the balance. This is the moment for which the conservative legal movement has been waiting for two decades--two decades in which a generation of conservative legal intellects of the highest ability have moved to the most distinguished heights in the legal profession. On the nation's appellate courts, in legal academia, in private practice, there are dozens and dozens of principled conservative jurists in their 40s and 50s unassailably qualified for the nation's highest Court. Yes, Democrats might have complained. But if Democrats had gone to war against a Michael Luttig or a Sam Alito or a Michael McConnell, they would have had to fight without weapons: the personal and intellectual excellence of these candidates would have made it obvious that the Democrats' only real principle was a kind of legal Brezhnev doctrine: that the Court's balance must remain forever what it was in the days when Democrats had a majority of the votes in the U.S. Senate--in other words, what we have, we hold. Not a very attractive doctrine, and not very winnable either....

I worked with Harriet Miers. She's a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... I could pile on the praise all morning. But nobody would describe her as one of the outstanding lawyers in the United States. And there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or--and more importantly--that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left.

I am not saying that she is not a legal conservative. I am not saying that she is not steely. I am saying only that there is no good reason to believe either of these things.
So the conservatives are unhappy. Will this make the Democrats back off? Or will this encourage them to take the opportunity to win one?

27 comments:

JBlog said...

"intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... "

Gosh, I think I'd settle for those qualities in a Supreme.

Hamsun56 said...

Never married! With Rice, we may have a pattern. Bush seems to exert some sort of sway over these single and chaste(I presume)women.

Internet Ronin said...

I don't think the Democrats have any reason to back off on this nomination. With no judicial record to examine, we can expect demands for every memo Miers has written as counsel to the president.

Sloanasaurus said...

One thing that I like abotu Miers is that she is not from the conervative or liberal elite - For example, she is not a graduate of Harvard or Yale or Stanford or some other elitist institution. Her roots and education are Texas - she is truly from outside the beltway. As such she could be the first "commoner" appointed to the Supreme Court since maybe Warren Burger and may end up have more commoner opinions on everything from cultural matters to matters of National Security.

This commoner view is the core of the grassroots conservative movement. (Whereas the core of liberalism is the elite University). Maybe we should give Miers a look.

Maybe I am just rationalizing.

Too Many Jims said...

One thing is for sure, I doubt she will be described by many people as "stunningly, brilliantly qualified".

me said...

One person has suggested to me that she is a sacrificial lamb, and will plow the way for a male candidate.

I'm not so sure.

For the left, the bottom line is that Bush won the election. It was a given that he would get a certain number of appointees.

It was a given that he would appoint judges that are pro-life.

So the Democrats can use the Nuclear Option, but that won't change the fact that inevitably a judge will make it through that will fit Bush's bill.

Each nominee should be judged on their qualifications and leave it that. If she is qualified, she should get the nod.

JBlog said...

But it's not about finding the most qualified candidate -- it's about finding the most politically acceptable candidate.

It's about how many boxes can be checked off and how few members of Congress will find the candidate objectionable.

Condoleesa said...

I am just glad he found a woman. I would have been upset if we went back to an all male court.

Sounds like she sucks up to Bush pretty well. It will be interesting to see what impact she will have say in 10 years when the Bushes aren't still in the White House (I don't think Jeb could make it)

Troy said...

"I am just glad he found a woman. I would have been upset if we went back to an all male court."

That would be offensive if not for being inane. He needed to pick the best candidate possible -- not an unknown quantity. Tokenism has no place -- whether sexual, racial or the buddy system which is what seems to fit this situation. She might make John Marshall look like a blithering idiot - who knows? But she might also make Abe Fortas look like John Marshall.

The only thing more insulting than cravenly picking a woman (or a man for that matter) out of some political tokenism is picking a "buddy" and saying "trust me". Sorry Mr. Bush -- you lost my abject trust (if I ever had it) at the border and at spending trough.

37383938393839383938383 said...

"Never married? Interesting. Is anyone going to say anything about that?"

Someone in the blogosphere is spreading the rumor that she is a lesbian, and that her "partner" attended meetings for her at the Dallas Bar Association to cast proxy votes.

madcat said...

saul (or anyone else) -

Do we know she's pro-life yet? Any source on that?

Curious,
Cat.

Too Many Jims said...

Madcat,

Apparently she tried to convince the ABA (or perhaps it was the Tx Bar) that it should change its position on abortion. I do not know details

vbspurs said...

Never married? Interesting. Is anyone going to say anything about that?

Do you suspect a blog "Is she a lesbian?!?!?" tom-tom at work already?

You know, I don't care if she is straight. I just care if she will vote straight -- and for a Conservative, that can only mean one thing.

Anyway, Plaidgate is so passé.

Thinks Bush is the most brilliant man she had ever met? Well, that's just weird. Or, really, sycophantic.

Bush is a visionary. And the sad thing is that most people are conditioned to believe that because he stumbles in his words, than his thoughts or actions falter too.

They don't.

Cheers,
Victoria

madcat said...

Ah. Found it. Thanks.

In the Washington Post:

"Miers was active in a 1992 battle in the American Bar Association, arguing vehemently but unsuccessfully against a resolution supportive of abortion rights. New reports at the time did not quote her on the merits of Roe v. Wade , the 1973 decision legalizing abortion, but rather on what she considered the inappropriateness of the ABA taking a position."

vbspurs said...

Someone in the blogosphere is spreading the rumor that she is a lesbian, and that her "partner" attended meetings for her at the Dallas Bar Association to cast proxy votes.

Must be the same person who tried to spread a similar rumour about John Roberts -- before Ann here erased the post, since she's a responsible blogger, not a Wonkette.

Rumours like that are there for two purposes:

1- The joy of spreading rumours, plain and simple.

2- Throwing up stuff to see what sticks.

3- To make people react negatively, the better to show up "homophobes" for what they are.

Fortunately, most people are aware of that, and often react to rumours in a way not expected by rumour-mongers.

Cheers,
Victoria

esmense said...

She may be one of those spinster career women (if you've spent enough years in the business world you are bound to meet one or two) who tend to become a little infatuated with their bosses. But that doesn't mean she couldn't turn out to be an excellent member of the court.

The pragmatists among us probably find her nomination more acceptable than the rabidly ideological. In fact, from a pragmatic point of view, the President was wise to risk disappointing the rabidly ideological. He, afterall, is President of an entire country, not just a party. And this appointment is one that will have significance well beyond this political generation.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Condoleesa:
There's always Ruth Bader Ginsburg. No matter who Bush selected, it wouldn't have become an "all male court".

aidan maconachy said...

Haha - hilarious! Did you see the legal pundit on FOX yesterday? He gave a long winded analysis of who he thought Bush would pick and said it would be Gonzales or another female prospect ... whose name escapes me.

The FOX anchor said - "What do you think of Harriet Miers' chances?"

The guy waves a hand and casually dismisses the thought as a lunatic diversion.

oooh wouldn't like to be in that guy's shoes today.

Ann called this a while back didn't she? I remember mention of Harriet M on here before she was a name in the papers.

Montague said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Montague said...

JBlog said...
"intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... "

Gosh, I think I'd settle for those qualities in a Supreme.


Or a dog.

Eli Blake said...

andrew:

Never married! With Rice, we may have a pattern. Bush seems to exert some sort of sway over these single and chaste(I presume)women.

9:02 AM
and Victoria (11:06)

First, if she is sixty and chaste, I'd be worried. That would be just weird.

Second, it is interesting that the whole issue of sexual orientation isn't brought up with Republican women who remain single, but I live in a state with a successful single female governor, and those on the right are always trying to suggest it must mean she is gay (despite absolutely no evidence either that it is true, or that most voters would give a rat's behind if it were).

As for Miers, I'm really not unhappy, as a liberal-- I was expecting a lot worse.

Hamsun56 said...

Eli,
Good point about how the sexual orientation of single Republican women doesn't seem to be an issue. Didn't Janet Reno have to convince some conservative senators that she was a true spinster and not a lesbian when she was being confirmed?

Craig said...

I think we have here Bush finding a woman who sucks up to the president far more than Clinton ever did, given the leading quote.

That's the shining sickness of the Bush administration, cronyism.

Unfortunately, it works - for good (Kennedys) or bad (GWB).

cokaygne said...

Will someone tell me what the "qualificiations" are for nominatin to the Supreme Court? For another thing, not only why does one have to be a judge, why does one have to be a lawyer? Anyway, I think Reid suggested her name to Bush because the Dems will be able to find that in her practice she defended corporations that did things that sound terrible as sound bites. If they find any hint that she might be pro-life it will be a battle royal of trial lawyers, the plaintiff bar versus the corporate bar.

Sirkowski said...

OH MY GOD! A lesbian in the Supreme Court! 8-O

aidan maconachy said...

Hispanics are mad about the Miers pick according to Yahoo news.

schroeder said...

> why does one have to be a judge, why does one have to be a lawyer?

The same reason one has to know how to hit a baseball to play for the Yankees. It's the job. Historically, SCOTUS appointees weren't always judges - they were very often political appointments. But even so, they were usually given to influential pols (like former president Taft), not personal friends of the sitting president. Hell, he may as well have appointed Laura. Or Barney.