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October 05, 2005

Miers -- just another good ol' boy

The River of Harriet Miers Information is full and overflowing -- Googling the name of President Bush's new Supreme Court nominee produces about four and a half million documents.

My favorite bits, among the flotsam and jetsam I've examined, are these two statements:

From Ms. Miers: "(President Bush) is the most brilliant man I have ever met."

From President Bush: "I picked the best person I could find."

Accepting that both are speaking the truth, you gotta conclude that Ms. Miers doesn't know very many men and that President Bush didn't look very hard.

Ms. Miers' background is strong enough to provide talking points for her partisans, but "the best person I could find"?

Don't fault her for never having been a judge; that's not a critical line on a nominee's resume. If it's missing, though, there needs to be something extraordinarily compelling to replace it.

Ms. Miers made her career in Texas. High points:

-- Co-managing partner of major Dallas law firm.

-- President of the Dallas Bar Association (first for a woman).

-- President of the Texas State Bar Association (first for a woman).

-- One term on the Dallas city council.

-- Five years as chair of the Texas Lottery Commission, to which then Gov. Bush appointed her in 1995, after she assisted in his 1994 gubernatorial run.

She followed Mr. Bush to Washington after his election as president, and has served in various staff positions since.

Impressive? Yup. Extraordinarily compelling? Nope.

The record may seem even less impressive if the senators on the Judiciary Committee start asking really hard questions about a few episodes in her past.

-- Her law firm in 2000 paid $22 million to settle a law suit alleging it aided a client in defrauding investors in what described as a "Ponzi scheme." (If you follow this link, search the document for "locke liddell".)

-- During her time at the Texas Lottery Commission, she fired two executive directors, including one who was poking around into money ties between Gtech, the company that held the lottery operations contract, and Texas politicians. (Scroll down to the lottery commission section.) He filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired in retaliation for that investigation. Gtech paid him $300,000 to settle the case.

-- During Bush's 1998 gubernatorial campaign, she was the lawyer he hired to look for issues in his past that might be a problem in a presidential race. His questionable record in the Texas National Guard was one issue she warned him about and gave advice on.

Add it all up and my book on Ms. Miers is: Light credentials and heavy personal loyalty to the "brilliant" Mr. Bush. That combination is something we've seen too many times in people he's advanced to high and important offices. Can anybody say "Michael Brown." Or "Julie Myers." Or "Joe Albaugh." Or ....

Mr. Bush did better than his usual hapless picks when he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Whatever Mr. Roberts turns out to mean to the court and to the country, he's a heavyweight, with a record to prove it.

Not Ms. Miers. She's just another crony. For the Supreme Court, we deserve better than yet one more Texas good ol' boy, even if this one is a woman.

Posted by jcb at October 5, 2005 03:50 PM


Darn Bush! Now he's forcing me to argue against a woman nominee for the Supreme Court. It's painful but I gotta be honest.

Posted by: Vita at October 5, 2005 04:27 PM

The best thing to happen would be for "us" to let Texas become a country. Than we could ignore them.

Posted by: Dennis at October 12, 2005 11:52 AM