Miers withdraws supreme court nomination
Updated: 2005-10-27 21:24
Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme
Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism
about her qualifications.
Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is
pictured while meeting with Sen. David Vitter, R-La., at his Capitol Hill
office Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005 in Washington. Miers withdrew her
nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday, Oct. 27, 2005, in the
face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.
President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after
weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her
withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House
documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive
"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 ¡ª disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid
counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for
this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers ¡ª and confirms
my deep respect and admiration for her."
Miers' surprise withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was
awaiting news on another front ¡ª the possible indictment of senior White House
aides in the CIA leak case.
Miers notified Bush of her decision at 8:30 p.m., according to a senior White
House official who said the president will move quickly to find a new nominee.
In her letter dated Thursday, Miers said she was concerned that the
confirmation process "would create a burden for the White House and our staff
that is not in the best interest of the country."
She noted that members of the Senate had indicated their intention to seek
documents about her service in the White House in order to judge whether to
support her nomination to the Supreme Court. "I have been informed repeatedly
that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the
White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy," she wrote.
"While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for
consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive
Branch materials and information will continue."
Miers' nomination has been under withering criticism ever since Bush
announced her selection on Oct. 3. There were widespread complaints about her
lack of legal credentials, doubts about her ability and assertions of cronyism
because of her longtime association with Bush.
Most recently she has been Bush's White House counsel. Bush said that with
her withdrawal, she would remain as counsel. He did not indicate when he would
name a successor.
"My responsibility to fill this vacancy remains," Bush said in a statement.
"I will do so in a timely manner."
Before Bush chose Miers on Oct. 3, speculation focused on Miers and two other
Bush loyalists: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Bush's longtime friend who
would be the first Hispanic on the court; and corporate lawyer Larry Thompson,
who was the government's highest ranking black law enforcement official as
deputy attorney general during Bush's first term.
Other candidates mentioned frequently included conservative federal appeals
court judges J. Michael Luttig, Priscilla Owen, Karen Williams, Alice Batchelder
and Samuel Alito; Michigan Supreme Court justice Maura Corrigan; and Maureen
Mahoney, a well-respected litigator before the high court.