Harriet Miers

Harriet Miers

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Harriet Ellan Miers is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 and former White House Counsel
White House Counsel
The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States.-Role:The Counsel's role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House...

. In 2005, she was nominated by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 to be an Associate Justice
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States...

 of the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

, but opposition from both sides of the political spectrum and Miers' request led President Bush to withdraw the nomination.

Early life and education


Miers was born in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, and spent most of her life there until she moved to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 (2001) to work in the Bush administration
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

. She describes herself as a "Texan through and through." She is the fourth of the five children of real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 investor
Investor
An investor is a party that makes an investment into one or more categories of assets --- equity, debt securities, real estate, currency, commodity, derivatives such as put and call options, etc...

 Harris Wood Miers, Sr., and his wife, the former Erma (Sally) Grace Richardson.

A product of a public school education, Miers graduated from Hillcrest High School (Dallas, Texas) in 1963.

Miers entered Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas, Texas, United States. Founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, SMU operates campuses in Dallas, Plano, and Taos, New Mexico. SMU is owned by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church...

 intending to become a teacher
Teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

. The economic plight of her family was so dire that she almost dropped out in her freshman year, but she was able to find part-time work that put her through college. Then her father had a debilitating stroke. When a lawyer helped organize her family's financial situation, Miers was inspired to enter law school. Miers graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 (1967) and from its Law School
Dedman School of Law
The Southern Methodist University School of Law, commonly referred to as SMU Law School or Dedman School of Law is a prominent professional graduate law school located in Dallas, Texas. Founded in February 1925, the school remains the only law school in Dallas...

 with a Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 degree (1970).

Career


In the summer of 1969, between her second and third years of law school, Miers worked as a clerk for Belli, Ashe, Ellison, Choulos & Lieff, the San Francisco law firm founded by Melvin Belli
Melvin Belli
Melvin Mouron Belli was a prominent American lawyer known as "The King of Torts" and by detractors as 'Melvin Bellicose'. He had many celebrity clients, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, Errol Flynn, Chuck Berry, Muhammad Ali, Sirhan Sirhan, the Rolling Stones, Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker, Martha...

. Miers was immersed in tort
Tort
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else. It is differentiated from a crime, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society in general...

 law. Her supervisor was Robert Lieff, then a partner in the Belli firm and later a founder of the nationally prominent plaintiffs' law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. In a 2005 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

, Lieff stated that Miers "saw what we did for people who needed to get a lawyer and were only able to get a lawyer by a contingent fee
Contingent fee
A contingent fee or conditional fee is any fee for services provided where the fee is only payable if there is a favourable result...

.".

After graduating from law school, from 1970 to 1972, Miers was a law clerk
Law clerk
A law clerk or a judicial clerk is a person who provides assistance to a judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions. Law clerks are not court clerks or courtroom deputies, who are administrative staff for the court. Most law clerks are recent law school graduates who...

 for the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Joe E. Estes. She was admitted to the Texas bar in 1970 and admitted to the DC bar in 1997.

In 1979, after she made partner in her law firm, she became an evangelical Christian after having had a series of long discussions with Nathan Hecht
Nathan Hecht
Nathan L. Hecht is a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Hecht, a Republican, was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988 and reelected in 1994, 2000, and 2006. With over 18 years of service, Hecht is currently the most senior Justice of the Court. He was re-elected to a fourth six-year term...

, her close friend and colleague at the firm.

In the late 1990s, while Miers was on the advisory board for Southern Methodist University's law school, she helped create and fund a Women's Studies lecture series named after pioneering Texas lawyer, Louise B. Raggio, who was a mentor to Miers. Raggio, now 83, has known Miers for nearly 40 years, since Miers was a student at Southern Methodist University. Miers was one class behind Raggio's son at SMU, and Raggio became a mentor for Miers; years later she served as a close advisor to Miers during the Texas Bar race. "I was interested in having a woman president," Raggio says. "She was an electable woman, a woman with a big firm behind her. Women's groups supported her because they wanted to show that a woman would be a competent president.".

From 1972 until 2001, Miers worked for the Dallas law firm of Locke, Liddell & Sapp (and predecessor firms before mergers). She was the first female lawyer hired by the firm and later became its president. When the merger that created Locke, Liddell & Sapp took place in 1999, she became the co-managing partner of a legal business with more than 400 lawyers. In 2000 the firm settled a lawsuit which accused the firm of having "aided a client in defrauding investors" for $22 million; according to the Class Action Reporter, Miers "said the firm denies liability in connection with its representation of Erxleben. 'Obviously, we evaluated that this was the right time to settle and to resolve this matter and that it was in the best interest of the firm to do so,' Miers said."

As a commercial litigator, she represented clients including Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 and the Walt Disney Company.

In 1986, Miers became the first female president of the Dallas Bar Association. In 1992, Miers became the first woman to head the State Bar of Texas. She has served as chair of the Board of Editors for the American Bar Association Journal and as the chair of the ABA
American Bar Association
The American Bar Association , founded August 21, 1878, is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students, which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. The ABA's most important stated activities are the setting of academic standards for law schools, and the formulation...

's Commission on Multi-Jurisdictional Practice.

In 1989, Miers was elected to a two-year term as an at-large member of the Dallas City Council. She did not run for reelection in 1991 after a restructure of the city council converted Miers' at-large seat, elected by voters citywide, into a single-district seat.

Miers met George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in January 1989 at an annual Austin dinner affair for legislators and other important people. Nathan Hecht
Nathan Hecht
Nathan L. Hecht is a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Hecht, a Republican, was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988 and reelected in 1994, 2000, and 2006. With over 18 years of service, Hecht is currently the most senior Justice of the Court. He was re-elected to a fourth six-year term...

, a mutual friend and Miers' date, made the introduction. Miers subsequently worked as general counsel for Bush's transition team in 1994, when he was first elected Governor of Texas
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

. She subsequently became Bush's personal lawyer and worked as a lawyer in his 2000 presidential campaign.

While head of the State Bar of Texas, Miers joined an unsuccessful effort to have the American Bar Association
American Bar Association
The American Bar Association , founded August 21, 1878, is a voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students, which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. The ABA's most important stated activities are the setting of academic standards for law schools, and the formulation...

 maintain its then-official position of neutrality on abortion. The ABA had adopted abortion neutrality at its 1990 annual meeting in Chicago after strong opposition by the State Bar of Texas to a pro-choice position. By the summer of 1992, at its annual meeting in San Francisco, the issue was again pending before the ABA assembly. Miers, who had not been involved in the Chicago meeting, supported ABA abortion neutrality in San Francisco. At the San Francisco meeting, the ABA Assembly and House of Delegates voted to take a pro-abortion rights position, and the state bar of Texas dropped its plans to ask the ABA's policy-making body to hold a referendum of the group's 370,000 members on the issue.

Since September 1994, Miers has contributed to the campaigns of various Republicans (at about the same time she began to work for George W. Bush), including Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Phil Gramm
Phil Gramm
William Philip "Phil" Gramm is an American economist and politician, who has served as a Democratic Congressman , a Republican Congressman and a Republican Senator from Texas...

, and Pete Sessions
Pete Sessions
Peter Anderson Sessions is a politician from the state of Texas. He is a Republican, and currently represents the 32nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the current Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee-Personal:Sessions was born in Waco,...

, with recorded contributions to Republican candidates and causes totaling nearly $12,000. Her earlier political history shows support for the Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 during the 1980s, with recorded contributions to Democratic candidates and causes, including the Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

, the Senate campaign of Lloyd Bentsen
Lloyd Bentsen
Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. was a four-term United States senator from Texas and the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in 1988 on the Michael Dukakis ticket. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1955. In his later political life, he was Chairman of the Senate...

 and the 1988 presidential campaign of Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

, totaling $3,000. Her last recorded contribution to a Democratic cause or campaign was in 1988. Ed Gillespie
Ed Gillespie
Edward W. Gillespie is an American Republican political strategist and former Counselor to the President in the George W. Bush White House. Gillespie, along with Jack Quinn, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore, founded Quinn Gillespie & Associates, a bipartisan lobbying firm...

 said that she was a "conservative Democrat" at the time.

In April 2007, Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell announced that Miers was returning to the firm. In her new role at the firm, Miers has registered with the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 as an agent for the Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

 and the Embassy of Pakistan
Diplomatic missions of Pakistan
This is a list of diplomatic missions of Pakistan, excluding honorary consulates. As the sixth most populated country and the second largest Muslim country in the world, Pakistan has an extensive and a large diplomatic network in various countries across the world.-Europe:** Vienna ** Baku **...

.

Government service


Before assuming the position of White House Counsel
White House Counsel
The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States.-Role:The Counsel's role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House...

, Miers had served as White House Staff Secretary, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. Before joining the Bush administration, Miers was a lawyer in private practice for 27 years, handling business cases and acting as then-Governor Bush's personal lawyer. She served as the first female president of both the Dallas Bar Association
Dallas Bar Association
The Dallas Bar Association or DBA is a professional organization providing resources for attorneys and the public in the city of Dallas, Texas. Founded in 1873, the DBA is a voluntary professional association of 10,000+ lawyers...

 and later the State Bar of Texas
State Bar of Texas
The State Bar of Texas is an agency of the judiciary under the administrative control of the Texas Supreme Court. The Texas Bar is responsible for assisting the Texas Supreme Court in overseeing all attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas...

 and also served one term on the Dallas City Council.

In 1995, George W. Bush, then Texas governor, appointed Miers to chair the Texas Lottery
Texas Lottery
The Texas Lottery is the government-operated lottery available throughout Texas. It is operated by the Texas Lottery Commission, headquartered in downtown Austin.-History:...

 Commission. Some have credited Miers with reforming the commission after a previous corruption scandal.

Her tenure has also been criticized. In 1997, the commission under Miers hired Lawrence Littwin as executive director but fired him five months later. At the time, the contract to operate the lottery was held by the politically connected GTech Corporation, which had obtained the contract with the help of a former Lieutenant Governor of Texas
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
The Lieutenant Governor of Texas is the second-highest executive office in the government of Texas, a state in the U.S. It is the second most powerful post in Texas government because its occupant controls the work of the Texas Senate and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the...

 (Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 Ben Barnes). Littwin, as director, began an investigation into whether GTech had made illegal campaign contributions and whether GTech owed the commission millions of dollars for breaches of its contract. He stated that Miers ordered him to stop the investigation. He brought a lawsuit alleging that he was fired in retaliation for the investigation and to ensure that GTech would keep its contract.
According to Texans for Public Justice, GTech paid Littwin $300,000 to settle the suit.

Miers resigned from the lottery commission in early 2000, a year before her term ended. She said her resignation had nothing to do with lagging sales in the system's biggest game, Lotto Texas, but rather that she wanted to allow her successor time to prepare for rebidding the lottery's primary operator contract.

There was some speculation during Bush's 2000 campaign that Bush would appoint Miers to the position of Attorney General. This was seen as possible with her trusted role as Bush's personal attorney and her many appointments during his tenure as governor. This also recalled William French Smith
William French Smith
William French Smith was an American lawyer and the 74th Attorney General of the United States.-Biography:...

 who was Ronald Reagan's personal attorney before being named Attorney General. Miers was not chosen and John Ashcroft
John Ashcroft
John David Ashcroft is a United States politician who served as the 79th United States Attorney General, from 2001 until 2005, appointed by President George W. Bush. Ashcroft previously served as the 50th Governor of Missouri and a U.S...

 became Attorney General instead.

In January 2001, Miers did follow Bush to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, serving as Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary during the first two years of his presidency. In that role, she opposed the administration's 2001 decision to stop cooperating with the ABA rating of judicial nominees. In 2003, she was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. In November 2004, Bush named her to succeed Alberto Gonzales
Alberto Gonzales
Alberto R. Gonzales was the 80th Attorney General of the United States. Gonzales was appointed to the post in February 2005 by President George W. Bush. Gonzales was the first Hispanic Attorney General in U.S. history and the highest-ranking Hispanic government official ever...

, his nominee for Attorney General
Attorney General
In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions.The term is used to refer to any person...

, to the post of White House Counsel, the chief legal adviser for the Office of the President
Executive Office of the President of the United States
The Executive Office of the President consists of the immediate staff of the President of the United States, as well as multiple levels of support staff reporting to the President. The EOP is headed by the White House Chief of Staff, currently William M. Daley...

.

Miers is said to be one of Bush's closest personal friends and appears given to effusive praise for the President. According to former Bush speechwriter David Frum
David Frum
David J. Frum is a Canadian American journalist active in both the United States and Canadian political arenas. A former economic speechwriter for President George W. Bush, he is also the author of the first "insider" book about the Bush presidency...

, Miers has called Bush the most brilliant man she had ever met and says he was the "best Governor ever." She also stated that "serving President Bush and Mrs. Bush is an impossible-to-describe privilege" and noted that Bush's personal qualities "make a brighter future for our nation and people all around the world possible."

Miers' last public speech before her nomination was given to the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
The North Dallas Chamber of Commerce is a chamber of commerce located in north Dallas, Texas . It has 900+ members and represents the business community interests in City of Dallas, Dallas County, and the State of Texas. It has long supported regional surface transportation and helped to get...

 on June 2, 2005.

Supreme Court nomination and withdrawal




On July 1, 2005, Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

 announced her intention to retire upon the confirmation of a successor. Bush appointed Miers as head of the search committee for candidates to replace O'Connor. On July 19, 2005, Bush announced John G. Roberts, Jr. as O'Connor's replacement. After William H. Rehnquist died of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer
Thyroid neoplasm is a neoplasm or tumor of the thyroid. It can be a benign tumor such as thyroid adenoma, or it can be a malignant neoplasm , such as papillary, follicular, medullary or anaplastic thyroid cancer. Most patients are 25 to 65 years of age when first diagnosed; women are more affected...

 on September 3, Bush withdrew this nomination and renominated Roberts for Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

. The Senate confirmed the nomination on September 29.

Meanwhile, Bush was considering nominating Miers as O'Connor's successor, factoring into account suggestions by several senators that the nominee should come from outside the appellate court system
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

. This caused several commentators to draw parallels with the 2000 election, when Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

, the head of Bush's vice-presidential search committee, was ultimately selected as the running mate.

On October 3, 2005, Bush nominated Miers to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Miers' nomination was criticized by people all over the political spectrum based on her never having served as a judge, her perceived lack of intellectual rigor, her close personal ties to Bush, and her lack of a clear record on issues likely to be encountered as a Supreme Court Justice. Many notable conservatives vigorously criticized her nomination, and numerous conservative groups normally considered part of Bush's political base planned to mount an organized opposition campaign.

Miers met with senators after her nomination was announced, and in those meetings she was ill-prepared and uninformed on the law. Senator Tom Coburn
Tom Coburn
Thomas Allen "Tom" Coburn, M.D. , is an American politician, medical doctor, and Southern Baptist deacon. A member of the Republican Party, he currently serves as the junior U.S. Senator from Oklahoma. In the Senate, he is known as "Dr. No" for his tendency to place holds on and vote against bills...

 told her privately that she "flunked" and "[was] going to have to say something next time." In mock sessions with lawyers, Miers had difficulty expressing her views and explaining basic constitutional law concepts. Miers had no experience in constitutional law, and did not have extensive litigation experience; at her Texas law firm, she had been more of a manager. Miers had rarely handled appeals and did not understand the complicated constitutional concepts senators asked of her. To White House lawyers, Miers was "less an attorney than a law firm manager and bar association president."

Early one-on-one meetings between Miers and the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were said to have gone poorly, and the White House considered suspending them to focus on preparation for the confirmation hearings. In an unprecedented move, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter is a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is a Democrat, but was a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democratic Party in 2009...

 and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy also requested that Miers re-do some of her answers to the questionnaire submitted to her by the Committee, noting that her responses were "inadequate," "insufficient," and "insulting" because she failed or refused to adequately answer various questions with acceptable accuracy or with sufficient detail. Miers also privately expressed a belief in the right to privacy to the pro-choice Arlen Specter, only to later deny that she had communicated that. Her answers also included an error on constitutional law where she mentioned an explicit constitutional right for proportional representation; though many court rulings have found that legislative and other districts of unequal population violate the equal protection clause
Equal Protection Clause
The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"...

, the right to proportional districts is not explicitly mentioned in the United States Constitution.

After Miers failed in these private meetings, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Olin Graham is the senior U.S. Senator from South Carolina and a member of the Republican Party. Previously he served as the U.S. Representative for .-Early life, education and career:...

 and Sam Brownback
Sam Brownback
Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback is the 46th and current Governor of Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1996 to 2011, and as a U.S. Representative for Kansas's 2nd congressional district from 1995 to 1996...

 began drafting a letter asking the President's office to turn over legal memoranda and briefs Miers had written for Bush, in order to elucidate her views on political matters. Brownback and Graham knew the memos were protected by executive privilege, that the White House was not required to turn them over, and that Miers could refuse to deliver the memos and then ostensibly step down on principle. Miers would later use this request as part of a face-saving exit strategy for stepping down - in her letter withdrawing her nomination, she pointed to the senators' request for confidential documents as potentially damaging the executive branch's independence.

Senator Charles Schumer
Charles Schumer
Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer is the senior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in 1998, he defeated three-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato by a margin of 55%–44%. He was easily re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24% and in 2010 by a...

 (D-NY) stated shortly after the meetings that "I think, if you were to hold the vote today, she would not get a majority, either in the Judiciary Committee or on the floor." However, Specter, the committee chairman, rejected the notion that Miers' nomination was shaky. He said that most senators were waiting for the hearings before making up their mind. "There are no votes one way or another," he said on CBS' Face the Nation
Face the Nation
Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer is an American Sunday-morning political interview show which premiered on the CBS television network on November 7, 1954. It is one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television...

. On October 19, 2005, Specter and Leahy announced their intent to begin confirmation hearings for Miers on November 7, 2005.

On October 27, 2005, the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 announced that Harriet Miers had asked President Bush to withdraw her nomination, citing fears that the nomination would create a "burden for the White House and its staff and it is not in the best interest of the country." President Bush stated that the Senate's interest in internal White House documents "would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel" and that he had "reluctantly accepted" her request. Miers was the first Supreme Court nominee to withdraw since Douglas H. Ginsburg
Douglas H. Ginsburg
Douglas Howard Ginsburg is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed to this court in October 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. He served as its Chief Judge from July 16, 2001 until February 10, 2008...

 in 1987 and the seventh to do so in U.S. history.

Bush nominated Samuel Alito
Samuel Alito
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the court since January 31, 2006....

 for the seat on October 31, 2005, and he was confirmed on January 31, 2006. Miers remained as White House Counsel
White House Counsel
The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States.-Role:The Counsel's role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House...

 for another year until announcing her resignation on January 4, 2007.

Resignation and departure from the White House


Joshua B. Bolten, upon becoming President Bush's chief of staff in April 2006, pressed for Miers' resignation, but Bush rejected the idea. After the 2006 elections, when Democrats won a majority of both houses of Congress, Bolten asked again for her departure, arguing that the president needed an aggressive lawyer and increased staff for the Office of Legal Counsel to fend off congressional inquiries and subpoenas. The second effort succeeded; Miers announced her resignation January 4, 2007 and left January 31, 2007. In April 2007, Miers rejoined her previous firm, Locke Liddell & Sapp, and became a partner in its litigation and public policy group. She maintains offices in Austin, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. The firm is now known as Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell.

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy


Kyle Sampson
Kyle Sampson
D. Kyle Sampson was the Chief of Staff and Counselor of United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He resigned on March 12, 2007, amid the controversy surrounding the firing of eight United States Attorneys in 2006 and was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in July 2010...

, chief of staff to Attorney General
Attorney General
In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions.The term is used to refer to any person...

 Alberto R. Gonzales, wrote to Miers in January 2006 to recommend that the Department of Justice and the Office of the Counsel to the President work together to seek the replacement of a limited number of U.S. Attorneys, saying that limiting the number of attorneys "targeted for removal and replacement" would "mitigat[e] the shock to the system that would result from an across-the-board firing."
In March 2007 the White House had suggested that the plan came from Miers, who had left the White House in January 2007, before the dismissal received public attention. The firings have led to Congressional investigations regarding the dismissals
Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
The dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy was initiated by the unprecedented midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys on December 7, 2006 by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice. Congressional investigations focused on whether the Department of Justice and the White...

.

On June 13, 2007, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees issued subpoenas to Miers and to Sara M. Taylor, former deputy assistant to President Bush and the White House director of political affairs, asking them to produce documents and appear before the committees to testify about what role, if any, both may have had in the U.S. Attorney firings controversy. Miers was requested to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 11, 2007. The White House reiterated its longstanding demand that no past or present White House officials would be permitted to testify under oath before the panels, and that private interviews, not under oath, and without transcripts would be permitted. The Chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees reiterated that the White House terms were unacceptable.
Ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter is a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter is a Democrat, but was a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democratic Party in 2009...

 said that the committee had “really had no response from the White House” regarding possible testimony on the firing of several U.S. attorneys, and that that had prompted the subpoena to compel a response. Miers refused to appear before Congress because Bush ordered her not to.

On Wednesday, July 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted 22–17 to cite Miers for contempt of Congress
Contempt of Congress
Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically the bribery of a senator or representative was considered contempt of Congress...

 for her failure to appear before the committee in response to its subpoena. On Feb. 14, 2008, the full House of Representatives voted to cite her for contempt by a vote of 223–32. Many Republicans walked out of the chamber in protest, deriding the priorities of the speaker in calling the vote, as opposed to a vote on a surveillance bill.

On March 4, 2009, Miers and former former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bush Karl Rove
Karl Rove
Karl Christian Rove was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush until Rove's resignation on August 31, 2007. He has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives...

 agreed to testify under oath before Congress about the firings of U.S. attorneys.

Awards and honors

Award Organization Year
"Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

 Award for Professional Excellence"
Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism 2005
"100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" National Law Journal 2000
"50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America" National Law Journal 1998
"100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" National Law Journal 1997
"Woman of the Year" Today's Dallas Woman 1997
"Women of Excellence" Women's Enterprise Magazine 1997
"Louise B. Raggio Award" Dallas Women Lawyers' Association
"Jurisprudence Award" Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

1996
"Merrill Hartman Award" Legal Services of North Texas
"Sarah T. Hughes
Sarah T. Hughes
Sarah Tilghman Hughes was an American lawyer and federal judge who swore in Lyndon B. Johnson as President of the United States on Air Force One after the Kennedy assassination. She is the only woman in U.S...

 Award"
Women in the Law Section, State Bar of Texas 1993
"Human Relations Award" American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Committee
The American Jewish Committee was "founded in 1906 with the aim of rallying all sections of American Jewry to defend the rights of Jews all over the world...

1992
"Justinian Award for Community Service" Dallas Bar Association
Dallas Bar Association
The Dallas Bar Association or DBA is a professional organization providing resources for attorneys and the public in the city of Dallas, Texas. Founded in 1873, the DBA is a voluntary professional association of 10,000+ lawyers...

1992

Personal life


Miers' mother and three brothers live in Dallas. She had a sister, Kitty, who is deceased. Miers has not married and has no children.

She is a close friend of former Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 and former Secretary of Agriculture
United States Secretary of Agriculture
The United States Secretary of Agriculture is the head of the United States Department of Agriculture. The current secretary is Tom Vilsack, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on 20 January 2009. The position carries similar responsibilities to those of agriculture ministers in other...

 Ann Veneman
Ann Veneman
Ann Margaret Veneman is the former Executive Director of UNICEF, a position she held from 2005 to 2010. Her appointment was announced on January 18, 2005 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Previously, Veneman was the United States Secretary of Agriculture, the first and only woman to hold that...

. Texas Supreme Court
Texas Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state of Texas. A different court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is the court of last resort for criminal matters.The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices...

 Justice Nathan Hecht
Nathan Hecht
Nathan L. Hecht is a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Hecht, a Republican, was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988 and reelected in 1994, 2000, and 2006. With over 18 years of service, Hecht is currently the most senior Justice of the Court. He was re-elected to a fourth six-year term...

 has known her for more than 25 years. After Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court, Hecht was cited as an unofficial spokesperson representing her views.

She is a cousin of Charles Grodin
Charles Grodin
Charles Grodin is an American actor, comedian, author and former cable talk show host. Grodin began his acting career in the 1960s appearing in TV serials including The Virginian. He had a small part as an obstetrician in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby in 1968...

, the actor and comedian.

Timeline

  • August 10, 1945: Harriet Miers born in Dallas, Texas
    Dallas, Texas
    Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

    .
  • 1967: Miers graduates from Southern Methodist University
    Southern Methodist University
    Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas, Texas, United States. Founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, SMU operates campuses in Dallas, Plano, and Taos, New Mexico. SMU is owned by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church...

     with a bachelor's degree
    Bachelor's degree
    A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

     in mathematics
    Mathematics
    Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

  • Summer 1969: Miers works for the firm of Belli, Ashe, Ellison, Choulos & Lieff
  • 1970: Miers graduates from Southern Methodist University School of Law
    Dedman School of Law
    The Southern Methodist University School of Law, commonly referred to as SMU Law School or Dedman School of Law is a prominent professional graduate law school located in Dallas, Texas. Founded in February 1925, the school remains the only law school in Dallas...

     with a law degree
    Juris Doctor
    Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

  • 1970–1972: Miers works as a law clerk
    Law clerk
    A law clerk or a judicial clerk is a person who provides assistance to a judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions. Law clerks are not court clerks or courtroom deputies, who are administrative staff for the court. Most law clerks are recent law school graduates who...

     for Joe E. Estes, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • 1972: Miers begins working in private practice for the Dallas firm of Locke, Liddell & Sapp and predecessor firms before mergers.
  • 1986: Miers becomes the first female president of the Dallas Bar Association
    Dallas Bar Association
    The Dallas Bar Association or DBA is a professional organization providing resources for attorneys and the public in the city of Dallas, Texas. Founded in 1873, the DBA is a voluntary professional association of 10,000+ lawyers...

  • January, 1989: Miers meets George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

    .
  • 1989–1991: Miers elected an at-large member on the Dallas City Council; did not run for reelection.
  • 1992: Miers becomes the first female head of the State Bar of Texas
    State Bar of Texas
    The State Bar of Texas is an agency of the judiciary under the administrative control of the Texas Supreme Court. The Texas Bar is responsible for assisting the Texas Supreme Court in overseeing all attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas...

    .
  • 1994: Miers works as general counsel for Bush's transition team when Bush becomes governor of Texas
    Governor of Texas
    The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

    .
  • 1995: She becomes Bush's personal lawyer.
  • 1995: Texas governor George W. Bush appoints Miers to chair the Texas Lottery Commission.
  • 2000: Miers resigns from the Texas Lottery Commission, a year before her term ended.
  • 2000: Locke, Liddell & Sapp settle a lawsuit asserting that "it aided a client in defrauding investors" for $22 million.
  • 2000: Miers as a lawyer in his 2000 presidential campaign.
  • 2001–2003: Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary
  • 2003: Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
  • 2004: White House Counsel, the chief legal adviser for the Office of the President.
  • October 3, 2005: Nominated to Supreme Court.
  • October 27, 2005: Supreme Court nomination withdrawn.
  • January 4, 2007: Announced resignation as White House Legal Counsel.
  • January 31, 2007: Effective date of resignation and departure from the White House.

See also

  • John Roberts
  • Unsuccessful nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States
    Unsuccessful nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States
    Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are nominated by the President and are then confirmed by the Senate. Presidential administrations are listed with any unsuccessful Supreme Court nominees—that is, individuals who were nominated and who either declined their own nomination, failed...


External links



Contempt of Congress References

Supreme Court References

News articles

Other links