President Bush today nominated a Texas lawyer who serves as White House counsel, Harriet Miers, to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court – a pick that apparently was pre-approved by Senate Democratic leadership.
In choosing Miers, Bush tapped a person who has never been a judge and therefore has no judicial record for opponents to criticize.
“She has devoted her life to the rule of law and the cause of justice,” Bush said, announcing his choice from the Oval Office with Miers at his side. “She will be an outstanding addition to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Added the president: “She will strictly interpret our Constitution and laws. She will not legislate from the bench.”
The Miers choice will likely be a disappointment to conservatives who hoped Bush would choose someone with a stronger “originalist” record.
“It looks like he flinched,” commented Fox News analyst Bill Kristol. “It looks like a capitulation.”
If Bush had nominated a jurist with a long “paper trail” of decisions and conservative writing, he would have faced a much tougher confirmation fight in the U.S. Senate.
Miers, who has never been a judge, was the first woman to serve as president of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association, the Associated Press reported.
If confirmed, she would be the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg and O’Connor.
“If confirmed, I recognize I will have a tremendous responsibility to keep our judicial system strong and to help insure the court meets their obligations to strictly apply the laws and Constitution,” Miers said.
Miers apparently had the pre-approval of Democratic leaders.
AP reported Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had urged the administration to consider her, two congressional officials said. There was a long list of staunchly conservative judges that Democrats were poised to fight, Miers not among them.
The president reportedly offered the job to Miers Sunday night over dinner at the White House. He met with the attorney on four occasions during the past couple weeks, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.