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Bush Nominates Harriet Miers to Supreme Court
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, October 03, 2005

Breaking News: "Bush picks Harriet Miers for Supreme Court"

We'll update this post as events transpire. Comments are welcome in the meantime.

UPDATE: NBC is reporting (no link) that Harriet Miers will be the choice. [UPDATE: it's now being reported by ABC and CNN, too] Perhaps, like the last nomination, it's simply White House misdirection. Perhaps not. In case, here's Harriet Miers biography...

As far as I can tell, Harriet Miers chief qualification is that she's loyal to President Bush.

UPDATE II: Here's something amusing to chew on. In 1987 and '88, Miers made $1000 contributions to Democrats Al Gore and Lloyd Bentsen. She also made a $1000 contribution to the DNC Services Corporation/Democratic National Committee. Since then, she's had an all-Republican donation record.

UPDATE III: David Frum...
Harriet Miers is a capable lawyer, a hard worker, and a kind and generous person. She would be an reasonable choice for a generalist attorney, which is indeed how George W. Bush first met her. She would make an excellent trial judge: She is a careful and fair-minded listener. But US Supreme Court?

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. 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.
And here's a NYTimes profile of Miers.

UPDATE IV: Blog reaction...

James Joyner...
Her resume is impressive enough but it is unclear why Bush would nominate someone this old to the Court. In recent years, the trend has been to pick someone in their mid-40s or early 50s to increase the likelihood they would serve a long time.
Captain's Quarters...
I find this pick mystifying. ... Not only does Harriet Miers not look like the best candidate for the job, she doesn't even look like the best female candidate for the job. If judicial experience is a liability, why not Maureen Mahoney, who is younger, has argued cases at the Supreme Court, and worked within the Deputy Solicitor's Office after clerking for William Rehnquist? Better yet, why not nominate J. Michael Luttig or Michael McConnell, with their brilliant and scholarly approaches to the law and undeniable qualifications through years of judicial experience? Why not Edith Hollan Jones, if Bush wanted to avoid the confrontation that Janice Rogers Brown would have created?

Miers may make a great stealth candidate, but right now she looks more like a political ploy. Color me disappointed in the first blush.
Glenn Reynolds says "so far I'm underwhelmed". That seems to be the general reaction I'm seeing so far. It's also my reaction. So far as I can tell, Miers' qualifications include a tolerable resume and a fierce loyalty to President Bush. And in an administration predicated on loyalty and cronyism, that's all it takes.

David Bernstein...
Comments on the conservative "confirmthem" site are apoplectic. This nomination may give the president some problems with his base. ...

...just as FDR's primary goal in appointing Justices was to appoint Justices that would uphold the centerpiece of his presidency, the New Deal, which coincidentally resulted in his appointing individuals who were liberal on other things, perhaps Bush sees his legacy primarily in terms of the War on Terror, and appointing Justices who will acquiesce in exercises of executive authority is his priority, even if it isn't the priority of either his base or the nation as a whole.
UPDATE V: The Left side of the sphere seems to be taken a bit aback. Sure, they'll oppose her...they just have to figure out why. Perhaps they ought to consider letting her in. It's fairly certain that any other appointee would still be a conservative, so perhaps you may as well let her in on the hope that she'll turn out to be another Souter/O'Connor.

Of course, that's partly why those of us on this side of the aisle are upset. As Steve Dillard writes at Southern Appeal...
I am done with President Bush: Harriet Miers? Are you freakin' kidding me?! Can someone—anyone—make the case for Justice Miers on the merits? Seriously, this is the best the president could do?
Thanks for nothing, Mr. President. You had better pray that Justice Miers is a staunch judicial conservative, because if she turns out to be another O'Connor then the Republican Party is in for a world of hurt. ... Oh, and if any of you RNC staffers are reading, you can take my name off the mailing list. I am not giving the national Republican Party another dime.
At Confirm Them, he adds that he's "received several calls and emails from conservative buddies telling me to chill out and reserve judgment on Miers". That's an awfully tall order, considering how often this has happened before to Republicans when it comes to Supreme Court appointments.

UPDATE VI [McQ]: John Hawkins at Right Wing News isn't disappointed, he's downright bitter about the Miers nomination:
George Bush's decision to appoint Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is bitterly disappointing.

Miers is a Bush crony with no real conservative credentials, who leapfrogged legions of more deserving judges just because she was Bush's pal. She used to be Bush's staff secretary for God's sake and now she's going to the Supreme Court while people like Michael Luttig, Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown & Emilio Garza are being left on the sidelines.

To merely describe Miers as a terrible pick is to underestimate her sheer awfulness as a selection.
Seems to be developing as a consensus on the right, with varying degrees of rhetoric to describe it from Glen Reynolds mild "I'm ... underwhelmed" to John Hawkins characterization of the pick as 'sheer awfulness'.

Politically, this is getting more interesting by the minute.

UPDATE VII: [Jon Henke] Democrats may have trouble opposing Miers if this is true...
Democratic and Republican special interests groups had been braced for a political brawl over the pick, but they may not get it. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had urged the president to consider Miers, according to several officials familiar with Bush's consultations with Congress.
It would certainly be difficult for Democrats to wage a confirmation war with both the candidate and their own Party leader. Frankly though, unless we find out that Miers has some very redeeming qualities, I kinda hope they do.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

This is simply mystifying.

I’d like to know who in the administration thought this pick would be welcomed by anyone on the right.

Written By: Sav
URL: http://
Well, it was "All over the press" that Edith Jones was to be the pick that John Roberts got, too. Straight from a "Senior Administration Official."

I’ll believe it when I see it. The GWB White House seems to take perverse delight in leaking misinformation to the press and tripping them up.
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
Forget it, Pete. The administration has already sent out talking points on her, and Senator Cornyn is already talking her up. Tis’ history, and likely not the good kind.

BTW, I have no idea why the above post repeated.
Written By: Sav
URL: http://
It’s already clear to me, perhaps, why he made this choice in the reactions you’ve listed.

Average people are bewildered when viewing a Jonathan Turley speak on the Today show and saying so emphatically that this woman is simply unqualified.

Oh really? For a position that doesn’t even require you to be a lawyer, let alone an appellate lawyer or a Judge? An American who has trailblazed her way through the legal profession—in a Southern kind of way—is unqualified for the Supreme Court?

Y’all better get to thinking again.

Kudos to the President for trying to highlight the opportunities he has given to qualified women, and for trying to break out of the "ghetto" of top-tier law schools and influential jurists who seem to think the Supreme Court is their plantation.
Written By: RattlerGator
Hello folks,

A quirk of the software running the site means you should never hit refresh after you post—it duplicates the post you just made.

Insread, go to the home site and reselect the thread from there.

Thanks, Tom Perkins, ml, msl, & pfpp

[Good advice. In the meantime, I’m deleting duplicate comments —Jon Henke]
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
As far as I can tell, Harriet Miers chief qualification is that she’s loyal to President Bush.
What mystifies me is that there are a lot of people mystified. It seems that appointing old friends with no experience to very important positions is one of the Presidents favorite pastimes.

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

Angels and ministers of grace defend us.
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
The Left side of the sphere seems to be taken a bit aback. Sure, they’ll oppose her...they just have to figure out why.
Yep....And the dance such confusion creates is perhaps the whole point.

The object of such a nomination, clearly is the most political impact with the least judicial damage.

As to the latter.... Assumedly, Bush trusts her judgement (pardon the pun)or he’d not have nominated her. Given her political donation record, she’s no right-wing idealouge.. nor given her support of the current administration, can she be considered far left.

As to the former... the arguments against her, partiucularly those from the Democrats... are going to be amusing to watch.
Written By: Bithead
Angels and ministers of grace defend us.
I’m in the same place. Bush has some positive characteristics such as perserverance, and has handled the post 9-11 world as well as I would have expected any politician to handle it. But he has no philosophical core that I can detect, and I’ve never seen anything said by or about him that would indicate "brilliance". If this woman can deal with Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, John Howard, and Vaclav Havel, and then claim Bush is the most brilliant person she knows, then I have to question her judgement on just about anything.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
going to be amusing to watch
I wonder if you’re going to be so amused as you watch the Republican party fall apart.
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
The good news is she won’t be another Souter. Bush must know her opinions on conservative issues very well. Bush has a great skill in surrounding himself with strong conservatives and yet appears as a soft conservative himself. I think that is calculated to avoid causing concern to the swing voters. Bush has decided he doesn’t jave the capital to fight a bitter SC battle right now, but needs a safe vote there.
Written By: Jon Cohen
URL: http://
The good news is she won’t be another Souter.

Maybe. But I see no indication whatsoever that she won’t be another O’Conner.

I’ve watched O’Conner’s decisions move steadily to the left over her term, as she puts more and more credence in the opinions of leftist law professors, and seeks their approval for her "historical legacy". Resisting the temptation to moderate one’s opinions to satisfy the ones writing the history books is tough. It requires a firm philosophical core. As I said above, I don’t think Bush has one, and there’s no indication that this nominee does either.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Go read about this woman’s religious identity and community. Then see if you still worry that she doesn’t have firm conservative convictions.

I think she’s quite firm in them.
Written By: too true
URL: http://
Lets see, what she has going for her:

- She’s obviously religious
- Bush knows her and is probably sure of her conservative convictions
- She’s probably there because Bush thinks she’ll uphold WoT and Exec. Powers (as applied to WoT)

That said.....

NO SALE AT PRESENT. This woman seems unqualified to be on the SCOTUS, and I’m not sure she’ll really keep conservative. I’m also BITTERLY disappointed the Pres. pussied out on this pick. This may be the last chance in a looooooooooooong time where a Republican President can force through a real hardcore conservative SCOTUS nominee. It’s taken how many decades to get to a point where we have the GOP in control with sufficient numbers and a sufficient political hand to get a nominee through? This circumstance may not come again for decades. This is opportunity WASTED.

Written By: shark
URL: http://
Go read about this woman’s religious identity and community. Then see if you still worry that she doesn’t have firm conservative convictions.
1) Do you have a link?

2) Frankly, the fact that she’s being sold on her "religious identity and community" don’t lead me to believe she advances my rather libertarian interests.
Written By: Jon Henke
Wingers are Charlie Brown and Bush is Lucy with the football.


Let’s see ... Miers ...

Was formerly a Democrat.

Gave money to Al Gore.

Chaired a committee that recommended the US join the international criminal court.

Headed the Texas Bar Assoc (not exactly the most conservative entity).

Is apparently for gay adoption.

Thinks Bush is the smartest man who ever lived.


How could you wingers not love her?
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
How could you wingers not love her?

Hey Harry Reid does ...

Oh, wait, that’s reason enough not too.
Written By: McQ
President Bush needs this nomination to get a pass through Congress. He’s nominated someone with a good working relationship with Congress - seems a pretty smart move. It will be surprising if she meets with any real resistance in the confirmation hearings.
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
I saw a clip of Schumer today where he gave guarded approval to the pick.

Game over. Now I’m not only disappointed by this pick, I DETEST it.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I’d not worry about it were I you, Shark.
Consider the number of nominees Bush has come up with who have been exactly right for the position. The Democrats have been under-estimatiung the man for a long time, and I think Chuckles just did it again.
Written By: Bithead
But as I said elsewhere on this site this morning, Robert, Bush isn’t a right wionger. He’s a centerist. All his chocies, his policies, and his nominations, have almost perfectly reflected that mindset. Both ends of the spectrum misfire on these things because they can’t seem to get that one simple fact under their toupee’.

Would I prefer a hard constructinist/originalist for the position? Sure. But I hold no illusions Bush would ever nominate such, nor would he get such a nominee by the process.

Written By: Bithead

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