The Case for Harriet Miers
This essay on Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers was written and recorded by ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow for NPR. The essay was broadcast on All Things Considered on October 20, 2005.
On the eve of the confirmation hearings, the rush to judgment over Harriet Miers is not only unfortunate but sadly continues. Moments after the nomination announcement was made, the instant analysis began. In the minds of some, there was no need to wait to hear from Harriet Miers herself. They would draw their own conclusion, a troubling rush to judgment that is simply unfair. This is true within both the liberal and conservative camps.
But I've worked with Harriet Miers on judicial nominations on both appellate and trial courts for the past year. She has a wealth of experience that uniquely qualified her for a seat on the highest court in the land. She also knows precisely what President Bush is looking for, and that is someone that will understand their role as judge and not set social policy from the bench.
Harriet Miers' experience as a trial lawyer will be a benefit to the court and to the country. And she has handled complex litigation too, including providing daily legal advice to the president of the United States. As White House counsel she helps to decide which cases the administration will weigh in on at the Supreme Court and what legal positions the administration will advocate. These cases range from issues on the war on terrorism to abortion. For those that criticize her level of experience, this misinformation is frightening.
Yes, it's true that Harriet Miers has never served on the bench as an appellate court judge, but that's an asset, not a liability. Those that have spent their professional career as judges tend to forget the real implications of the decisions they make and the impact that they have on regular people. It will be refreshing to have someone that understands that a decision of the Supreme Court will have real and practical implications on business and in people's personal lives.
Just like some of the most memorable and influential justices of the past, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist was named to the high court after working in the Department of Justice. The same was true of Byron White. And Lewis Powell, who was a former president of the American Bar Association--he went from private practice directly to the Supreme Court. No one would argue that these justices did not serve with integrity, honor and keen legal insight.
In her role as White House counsel, Harriet Miers has shown an extraordinary understanding of constitutional law. She tackled tough, complex constitutional issues. Take, for example, the separation of powers. On a daily basis, Harriet Miers is confronted with balancing the role of Congress and setting social policy. She works with the House and Senate leadership on a daily basis.
Another example of her legal prowess concerns the war on terror. The White House confronts important legal issues concerning the war on terrorism. These matters include issues of international law, congressional mandates on the War Powers Act and the application of decades-old conventions of war.
The president has known Harriet Miers for over a decade. He has worked with her intimately. He knows that she will uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. I look forward to the confirmation hearings, where the pundits will step aside and let Harriet Miers speak for herself. The nation will see why Harriet Miers will make an exceptional associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) a Washington, DC-based legal advocacy group. Jay argues cases regularly before the Supreme Court of the United States and is working to ensure the confirmation of Harriet Miers to the high court.