October 3, 2005
by Susan Jones
(CNSNews.com) - President Bush on Monday nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Word leaked out about ninety minutes before Bush made the official announcement from the White House at 8:02 EDT. He planned to go to the Supreme Court building afterwards, to watch incoming Chief Justice John Roberts preside on opening day of the court's new term.
President Bush said Miers, 60, is well-suited to sit on the highest court in the nation and is someone who "will not legislate from the bench."
Miers has never been a judge, so there is no judical record for senators to review. However, President Bush noted that the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist also came to the Supreme Court without prior experience on the bench -- as did more than 35 other Supreme Court justices.
"I've given a lot of thought to the kind of people who should serve on the federal judiciary," Bush said. "I've come to agree with the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who wrote about the importance of having judges who were drawn from a wide diversity of professional backgrounds."
Bush said Miers' record of achievement in private practice and public service is comparable to that of other justices without prior judicial experience.
Bush said Miers is someone who has devoted her life to the rule of law and the cause of justice. "She will be an outstanding addition to the Supreme Court of the United States," he said.
In November 2004, when Bush appointed Miers to succeed Alberto Gonzales as counsel to the president, he called her a trusted adviser on whom he relies for straightforward advice.
Miers has also served as a deputy chief of staff in the Bush White House. Before coming to Washington, she was a managing partner at the Texas-based law firm of Locke Liddell Sapp.
In 1992, Miers was the first woman to be elected president of the Texas State Bar; in 1985, she was the first woman to serve as president of the Dallas Bar Association. She also served as a member-at-large on the Dallas City Council.
She received her bachelor's degree and J.D. from Southern Methodist University.
Miers has been helping President Bush choose a Supreme Court nominee, and by naming her, Bush is doing exactly what he did with Vice President Dick Cheney -- making the person who led the search the nominee.
Some conservatives say bravo
Reaction began pouring in even before President Bush made the official announcement.
Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Miers an "outstanding" nominee who has his "strong" support.
"Harriet Miers is a brilliant legal mind," Cornyn said in a statement. "She is a woman of outstanding character who clearly understands what it means to follow the law. She is deeply committed to public service, and has a distinguished history of professional achievement. It is clear that her past experiences have well prepared her for the honor of serving our country as a Supreme Court Justice."
Cornyn urged the Senate to consider Miers' nomination in a "thorough and expedient manner," putting aside partisanship to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent.
"This fine nominee must be treated with civility and respect, not as a political pawn. I hope that we in the Senate can move forward in a manner worthy of the American people," Cornyn concluded.
Jeff Mazzella, president of the Center for Individual Freedom, also said Miers deserves to be treated with the civility and dignity befitting a nominee to the High Court.
"The Democrats and their puppet masters on the Left should drop their irresponsible filibuster threats," Mazzella said. "It's never appropriate to obstruct a judicial nominee, especially when it's a nominee to the Supreme Court."
People in both parties predict that Miers will have a much harder time winning confirmation, as liberals and conservatives battle over the direction of the court.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative civil liberties group, said Miers is an excellent choice who represents the conservative mainstream of judicial philosophy -- interpreting the Constitution, not re-writing it.
"Once again, President Bush showed exceptional judgment in naming Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court to replace Justice O'Connor," said Jay Sekulow, ACLJ's chief counsel who argues regularly before the high court.
"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."
Sekulow said he worked with Miers in her capacity as White House counsel. "She is bright, thoughtful, and a consummate professional and I enthusiastically endorse her nomination," he said.
Sekulow said he look forward to a speedy confirmation process and will work aggressively to ensure that Harriet Miers gets full and fair consideration before the Senate.
"We call on members of the Senate to reject the partisan political rhetoric and focus on the judicial philosophy of this conservative mainstream nominee.
"We know the intentions of the liberal left - to do anything possible to derail this nominee," said Sekulow. "We are prepared to meet those challenges head on and ensure that this battle ends with the confirmation of Harriet Miers as an associate justice of the Supreme Court."
Sekulow said the ACLJ will begin mobilizing a national campaign to ensure that Miers is confirmed.
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