President Bush nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court on this week, turning to a lawyer who has never been a judge to replace Sandra Day O’Connor and help reshape the nation’s judiciary.
“She has devoted her life to the rule of law and the cause of justice,” Bush said as his first Supreme Court pick, Chief Justice John Roberts, took the bench for the first time just a few blocks from the White House.
If confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, Miers, 60, would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the nation’s highest court and the third to serve there. Miers was the first woman to serve as president of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association.
Senate Republicans said they would press for confirmation by Thanksgiving —
a tight timetable by recent standards that allowed less than eight weeks for lawmakers to review her record, hold hearings and vote.
Within hours of Bush’s announcement in the Oval Office, Miers headed for the Capitol to begin courtesy calls on the senators who will vote on her nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was first on the list. His welcome was a statement in praise. “With this selection, the president has chosen another outstanding nominee to sit on our nations highest court,” it said.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was complimentary, issuing a statement that said he likes Miers and adding “the Supreme Court would benefit from the addition of a justice who has real experience as a practicing lawyer.”
At the same time, he said he looked forward to the “process which will help the American people learn more about Harriet Miers, and help the Senate determine whether she deserves a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.”
Reid had personally recommended that Bush consider Miers for nomination, according to several sources familiar with the president’s consultations with individual senators. Of equal importance as the White House maps its confirmation campaign is that the Nevada Democrat had warned Bush that the selection of any of several other contenders could trigger a bruising partisan struggle.
At the same time, Republican strategists who spoke on condition of anonymity said they would have to work hard to assure the support of some of the more conservative Republicans in the Senate. All 55 GOP senators voted to confirm Roberts.
– Associated Press
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