Bush nominates Harriet Ellan Miers for U.S. Supreme Court

Monday, October 3, 2005

President Bush announces Miers' Supreme Court nomination at the White House

President George W. Bush today nominated Harriet Ellan Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who announced her retirement intentions July 1, 2005.

Bush originally nominated John G. Roberts, Jr. to replace O'Connor, but following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Roberts was renominated and confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States.

Bush's nomination was not totally unexpected because senators from both political parties reportedly suggested her as a potential nominee, and because she had lead Bush's search team for his second nominee. That mirrors Dick Cheney's selection as Bush's Vice Presidential candidate in 2000 after Cheney led the search team for that post.

Miers attended Southern Methodist University. She earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics, and a law degree. She was in private law practice from 1972 to 1999, served one term as a member of the Dallas City Council, and as Chair of the Texas Lottery Commission. Since Bush's 2000 election she served in a variety of roles in his administration, and is currently White House Counsel.

Some critics have opposed Miers' nomination, noting that she has never served as a jurist or argued a case before the Supreme Court. The White House in response noted that neither the late judge William Rehnquist nor 35 other past Supreme Court nominees had judicial experience before being named to the Court. It also noted that 10 of the last 34 justices appointed since 1933 were appointed directly from positions within the respective sitting presidents' administrations.

Senate hearings on the nomination are been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005 at 2:30pm

Chief Justice Roberts was confirmed with 78 to 22 favorable vote. In recent decades confirmation hearings have been more contentious because politicians have attempted to maintain a perception of balance on the court. While Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was confirmed easily in 1993 following a 96 to 3 vote, Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed by a 52 to 48 vote — largely along party lines.

The website justicemiers.com, which is running banner ads supporting the nominee, was registered September 29th, 2005 to Progress for America. The registration was made several days before the nomination was announced. According to SourceWatch, Progress for America is a non-profit organization closely associated with the Bush administration.