President Bush today nominated White House counsel Harriet E. Miers, whom he once called “a pit bull in Size 6 shoes.”as his choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor this morning. It was not immediately clear whether Miers’ lack of experience as a judge would help or hamper her odds of Senate confirmation. The high court began its 2005-6 term today with John Roberts as Chief Justice.
The New York Times noted that Miers, 60, a longtime confidant of the president and a former president of the Texas Bar Association, has never been a judge, lacks a long history of judicial rulings that could disclose ideological tendencies. Her positions on such ideologically charged issues as abortion and affirmative action are not known. Many Bush’s allies had lobbied for a conservative justice to replace Justice O’Connor, a key swing vote on the court, to place a conservative stamp on the court for years to come. Democrats warned that a conservative pick to replace a moderate justice would lead to a drawn-out partisan battle. Bush said that while considering his choice in recent days, Miers had “stood out as being exceptionally well-suited” to replace O’Connor. Miers said she had a duty to “ensure the courts meet their obligation to strictly apply” the constitution and to adhere to “the founders’ vision of the court.” If confirmed, Miers would be the first justice with no previous experience on the bench since the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who joined the court in 1972.