What’s the Deal With Harriet Miers?


WASHINGTON, D.C.—By nominating Harriet Miers to the
Supreme Court, President Bush is turning to a trusted
advisor who has a reputation for keeping her mouth shut—and putting her in a key position for damage control. Her nomination might make people like Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Tom DeLay breathe a little easier.

She is, as Bush has said, “a pit bull in size 6 shoes.” If confirmed, Miers will be the president’s woman on the Supreme Court. She would replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a Republican pick for the court who has turned out to be more of a swing voter than some right-wing Republicans would like.

Never a judge, Miers is a longtime GOP functionary, and has pumped thousands of dollars into the campaigns of right-wing GOP stalwarts in Texas—from Phil Gramm to Kay Bailey Hutchison. It must be noted that in 1988 she gave money to Democrats—$1,000 to Al Gore in his first try for president and $1,000 to Lloyd Bentsen for Senate.

Above all, Miers is loyal to President Bush. It’s hard to imagine her putting faithfulness to the Supreme Court above faithfulness to the Bush family. She reportedly recommended Alberto Gonzalez to be Bush’s counsel when Bush was governor of Texas. Miers was Bush’s personal lawyer in Texas, coming with him to the White House in 2001 as a staff secretary—the person who checks out all documents before they go to the president. Miers became a deputy counsel, then counsel when Gonzalez was elevated to attorney general.

Miers is a former president of Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell and former chair of the Texas Lottery Commission. Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell have given at least $65,000 to Bush campaigns and are major backers of tort reform.

“One case involved a unique law—passed under former Gov. George Bush—that blocked Texas consumers from recovering $6 billion in overcharges on car loans and allowed dealers to keep kickbacks secret,” reported Light Up the Darkness.
“Two consumer groups have called on the Texas Legislature to repeal it. Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell were defendants of the litigation, which included auto dealers in Texas.”

Miers was chair of the state lottery commission from 1995 to 2000, at a time when the agency was tied up in a case involving Gtech. That’s the company that ran the lottery, and was accused of alleged kickbacks and illegal contracts. The case also involved former lieutenant governor Ben Barnes—the same pol who claimed to have helped the young Bush get into the National Guard.