HNN Poll: Do You Favor the Appointment of Harriet Miers?


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Profiles of Harriet Miers

  • Wa Po Profile:

    Harriet Ellan Miers was born in Dallas on Aug. 10, 1945. Miers received her bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1967 and JD in 1970 from Southern Methodist University. Upon graduation, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Joe E. Estes from 1970 to 1972. In 1972, Miers became the first woman hired at Dallas's Locke Purnell Boren Laney & Neely.

    In March 1996, her colleagues elected her the first woman president of Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell, at that time a firm of about 200 lawyers. She became the first woman to lead a Texas firm of that size.
  • NYT Profile:

    The parallels to the woman she would replace are apparent. Both were born in Texas. Both graduated at the top of their law school class, and yet had trouble finding jobs. Both served in elective office, Justice O'Connor in the Arizona State Senate and Ms. Miers a single two-year term on the Dallas City Council, but neither had been a federal judge. Both have now made history - beyond their wildest early dreams.

    "I really came out of high school believing I wasn't bright enough to be a doctor," Ms. Miers told The Dallas Morning News in 1991."Career days at high school, you just got no encouragement."


      All of the following quotations showed up on Richard Jensen's conservative.net list within hours of President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers.

      • David Frum:

        "You can always count on George W. Bush to get the big ones right." That line or something like it has consoled conservatives during their periodic bursts of unhappiness with this administration. And by and large it has been true. Oh, there were major mistakes, no doubt about that - prescription drugs, steel quotas, and so on - but it was always possible to rationalize those as forced on the president by grim necessity or some prior campaign promise.

        The Miers nomination, though, is an unforced error. Unlike the Roberts'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 US Senate - in other words, what we have, we hold. Not a very attractive doctrine, and not very winnable either.

        The Senate would have confirmed Luttig, Alito, or McConnell. It certainly would have confirmed a Senator Mitch McConnell or a Senator Jon Kyle, had the president felt even a little nervous about the ultimate vote.

        There was no reason for him to choose anyone but one of these outstanding conservatives.
      • Historian Larry Schweikart:

        Doesn't look bad at all. Only to Bush haters. This will be a humungeous victory. Oh, and need I bring up the"millstone around Bush's neck" prediction made by one of our list members? My record of predictions on these matters, I think, speaks for itself. She's a goodie.
      • Michael Visser:

        It should suffice to quote HAMILTON, Fed. 76:"To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity."

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      More Comments:

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      - 10/14/2005

      Maybe you should do some research- head of the biggest law firm in Texas- doesn't sound like mediocrity tome

      Jon Demarest Rudd - 10/8/2005

      Give her a chance for the next 15-20 years?

      - 10/8/2005

      Bush will be gone in 28 months.

      Murray A. Rubinstein - 10/8/2005

      While there is much that I find admirable in Harriet Miers career and in her quiet struggle to advance herself, as a woman, against the bias and roadblocks put beore her, I cannot see her as a member of the highest court in the USA. She gives no indication whtever that she is the type of legal scholar and legal intellectual one needs in that role.
      Tdoay, the arguement that one does not need judicial experience doe not hold up. One has to knwo the give and take of the court and have a wide knowledge of the issues and the way the court does its thinking. Miers is a basicly the good apparachnik and seems to following the Biblical tennets of behaviour for the proper wife or maidservant in respect to 43, her lord and master. She is a facilitator who avoids conflict or even stating here own views of things. Where is the keen sense of the law or the deep knowledge of precendent. I may not agree with Justice Roberts, I I enjoyed his tyle and his willingness for polite but pointed judical combat and one can see how ready he is to entry the fray from the accounts of this week's arguments of major cases befor the Court. Can one see the intelligent but devoted and conflict-avoiding Harriet Miers in this role---I think not.

      Stefanie Beninato - 10/7/2005

      I don't believe that Harriet Miers is the best person for the job. She is too close to Bush and gives him to much adulation to make me feel that she will be objective and fair in her decisions.
      As for Clinton, I think he will be remembered as one of the better presidents of the 20C. Just look at his the competency of his judicial appointees!

      jhml - 10/7/2005

      One really ought to read the following quick review of her cases (admittedly partisan and a bit exaggerated):

      "mediocrity" would, I think, be inaccurate.

      Carolyn Steele - 10/7/2005

      From what I have read and heard of Ms. Miers, she does not have the qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court. She has never been a judge. There are many, many other female jurists far more qualified. Even Judge Judy has more qualifications, having been in the Family Court as a sitting Judge for more than 25 years.
      Just because Ms. Miers is a crony of the President, doesn't mean that she is qualified.
      How about Judge Anthony Napolitano from Fox? Even HE is more qualified than Ms. Miers.

      Kelly DeVries - 10/6/2005

      While I must admit some pleasure at seeing the conservatives squirm over this nomination, believing that this might mean that she would not be so bad, is there anyone in the US who could possibily believe that she is the "best candidate for the job," as the President affirms? One might also suggest that her claim that George W Bush is the "smartest man that she knows" damages her credibility.

      John J Capozucca - 10/6/2005

      Well said, Vernon. Thanks!

      Vernon Clayson - 10/5/2005

      Joe, Joe, come down from your fit. If George Bush doesn't do speeches and public appearances after his presidency, it will be because he isn't a slave to the almighty dollar and doesn't require the adulation the previous president, Bill Clinton, obviously needs. In time to come, Bush will be seen as a two-term former president, Clinton will be recalled as a minor celebrity, a rather comical and clumsy lecher, who coincidentally held the presidency between Bush 1 and Bush 2.

      John H. Lederer - 10/5/2005

      the right country club? Or hold a degree from right alma mater? Or believe in the right religion? Or have the right accent?

      What small closed minds many seem to have.

      Think of the abuse you would have heaped on a country bumpkin like Abraham Lincoln.

      erade - 10/5/2005

      she's a born again, doesn't that tell you a wholelot about what she belives in and what her votes will be.


      Jim Smith - 10/5/2005

      You are all missing the point by focusing on "cronyism." Who cares the reason Bush picked her--or the definition of the word? She is not qualified. I went to law school with folks like her. She doesn't really understand "the law." That's why she remained at a corporate law firm her entire career. She's not interested in learning about deep issues.

      The only good thing about this nomination is it will be a blast to watch her embarrass herself with her lack of knowledge during the hearings.

      Joe Smith - 10/5/2005

      You are right about everything except the lecture circuit comment, if you are saying Bush will give lectures after his term ends. He is stupid and not interested in learning and anything remotely intellectual. I mean he is literally at about 100 IQ--average. Like most Americans (average) he would rather be home at 5 and watching the latest crap on network TV by 6:30. He will be the first ex-president to not give speeches after retirement.

      Glenn Rodden - 10/5/2005

      I am against the nomination of Mier to the Supreme Court because she is woefully underqualified. As many people have pointed out, Mier has not been a judge and has no record of where she stand on constitutional issues. She has spent her career as a corporate lawyer and has not expressed any particular judicial philosophy.

      I am hoping that during Mier's confirmation hearing, Senators will ask her about her about her role in the Plame investigation, but I doubt that they will get clear answers from Mier.

      mikebeatty - 10/5/2005

      No, I do not support Ms Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court. While her service as president of all of the local bar associations is admirable, I do not feel that it suits her for membership in the exclusive, 9-member club that determines, definitively what the law is in this country.
      Perhaps if Ms Miers and Mr Bush had been undergraduate classmates together, and had tracked each others' careers over the intervening decades, then the President's rhetoric about how he's gotten to know Ms Miers would carry some weight. As it is, barely 10 years ago then-Gov Bush catapulted an established corporate lawyer into the top ranks of Texas state government. From there, Ms Miers has ridden Mr Bush's coattails to Washington, and the President has now tossed someone who is, frankly, a jurisprudential cipher into a lifetime appointment, the repercussions of which will be felt long after Mr Bush has faded from the lecture circuit.

      Frederick Thomas - 10/4/2005


      "Crony: A longtime close friend or companion.

      ETYMOLOGY: Greek khronios, long lasting, from khronos, time. "

      In the dictionary, crony does not sound so bad. While she is not a judge by profession, she has many experiences which could be very useful in making informed judgments.

      She knows where trial lawyers are coming from, and how to manage and control them. She knows how to run large state agencies and small federal offices without the slightest whiff of corruption, and she professes a respect for the constitution and judicial restraint which are encouraging.

      mikebeatty - 10/4/2005

      I knew there was something more I needed to put in my earlier post . . .
      The counterargument to what I said above would be that the Constitution gives the President broad discretionary powers to prosecute war. My response would be, does the Constitution give the President such power as to alter the definition of commonly-used words to suit the exigencies of what the President has defined to be a war?
      If the President can change the meanings of words, can make black into white and night into day; to render moral that which is immoral, what is to stop a future President from declaring, say, that homosexual relationships are normative, and should be protected?
      Or is the President's power to transmute meanings by fiat limited only to those transmutations, of which the people approve? Have we, then, achieved true democracy? Why, then, do we lionize G W Bush as a "man of vision," a "man of integrity," if all he does is pander to the appetites of the masses?
      And what does it say about us as a society, that we find it necessary and acceptable to kill off a few thousand of the next generation, in order to "get tough" on terrorism?

      mikebeatty - 10/4/2005

      I have to respond to David Frum's gushing over the "intellectual excellence" of the Hon J Michael Luttig, Judge of the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Is Mr Frum serious?!
      Judge Luttig may have a long, historic record of intellectually profound judgments rendered from the bench. Yet, within the last 6 weeks, he's spoiled it all by justifying the continued detention of Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant, on the grounds that the United States is "at war" with al-Qaeda. How can the U S be at war with al-Qaeda, when by definition war is conflict between states, and al-Qaeda cannot in any sense be considered a state?!
      Perhaps in a rhetorical sense, the U S can be said to be "at war" with al-Qaeda, but in no other sense. On the other hand, Jose Padilla's ongoing detention without benefit of the courtesy of formal accusation, is much more than a rhetorical exercise.
      I remember reading one of Rush Limbaugh's books (I think it was "See, I Told You So!"), at the time of Bill Clinton's famous dissembly on the meaning of the word "is." Limbaugh wrote, ". . . words have meaning." Unless, of course, you're an ambitious appeals-court judge, trying to curry favor with the President for a move up the judicial ladder.
      Shame on Judge Luttig. The American people (and the interests of Justice) deserved better.

      Bucky Rea - 10/4/2005

      Once more, our president has placed a crony of meager talents in a job that should be occupied by a highly qualified expert. This is a stunning triumph for mediocrity. Hundreds of qualified jurists, dozens of top notch litigants, legal theorists, and influential law professors to choose from, and Mr Bush uses the public trust to reward a loyal and seemingly likeable 2nd rate political manager for her years of service to him (and only marginal service to the public).

      How disappointing. How far have we tumbled from the days when George Washington sought to fill the ranks of the people's trust with "first characters." The nation wants a Solon and the president gives us a hack.