Harriet Miers withdraws from Supreme Court nomination

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers

President George W. Bush's nominee for Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Harriet Miers, has withdrawn herself from the nomination.

In a letter dated October 27, to President Bush, she wrote that "members of the Senate have indicated their intention to seek documents about my service in the White House," and that she "would be expected to testify about my service in the White House."

Faced with mounting criticism of his nominee from numerous disparate organizations, within and outside the President's Republican Party, Bush acknowledged her resignation and critics by saying "It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House — disclosures that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid counsel. Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers — and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."

The Miers nomination was politically controversial because she is White House Counsel and she was a personal lawyer to Bush when he was governor of Texas. Miers also has no experience as a judge.

Since there was no record of how she might interpret the Constitution, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee requested detailed written replies to a series of questions probing her past. It became apparent that Senators wanted to review White House records documenting legal advice provided by Miers as part of her work for the Bush administration.

President Bush has been seeking to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice, since her July 1, 2005 letter stating she would retire "effective upon the nomination and confirmation of her successor."