Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Crazy 8s Harriet Miers Strikes Senate Staffers

The real Miers problems are starting to surface.

She is hiding stuff.

Is she really inept, or is it a strategy to divert people from the big stuff?

Will the hearings consist of the theme: not a crook, merely inept?

Senate Judiciary Committee asks Miers for more details
Chicago Tribune

Staffers . . . were struck by the cases she listed because the questionnaire had asked her to include all litigation in which she had participated. Senior Republican aides on the Judiciary Committee did a quick search on the Internet and found a page and a half of additional cases.

"In a good hour's work, they found a couple pages of stuff that had not been listed - and it wasn't like an in-depth investigative search. It was just your normal, `Hey, let's see what we can find,'" said one senior Republican committee aide.

The Miers answers listed 8 cases. We had already reported our thoughts on cases that were not listed. Weird, huh? The Senate committee had the same reaction.

Why did Miers leave out cases?

Was she hiding them?

Not possible, you say?

She clearly was hiding things like the civil suits against Locke that were settled for millions, which had been reported in newspapers, and formed part of the basis for a Texas CLE course on The Texas Chicken Feed Tort of Negligent Misrepresentation that has been available on the internet for years.

She was on an advisory board for Martindale Hubbell Lexis/Nexis.

Did she believe no one would ask about her missing cases or The Texas Chicken Feed Tort of Negligent Misrepresentation?

Perhaps she is an optimist.

She was thought to be:

a very good trial lawyer

very ethical

a detail person

picky about punctuation, grammar, writing, form


In two weeks, she has convinced the Senate committee that:

she is not truthful when they talk to her

the chairman now wants a recording of conversations

Specter, a former prosecutor, said Wednesday that in his years of meeting with Supreme Court nominees, he'd "never walked out of a room and had a disagreement as to what was said."
"The sooner we get into a hearing room where there's a stenographer and public record, the better off the process is," Specter said.

she is not a detail person
she cannot write well
she is not good with punctuation or grammar
she misunderstands law
she lacks substantive background in the stuff the Supreme Court deals with
she is not complete, truthful, or respectful when asked to file complete answers to questions

"On the balance of her answers, they're incomplete," said Specter, noting she had only provided a "skimpy little group" of cases she had handled.

Wednesday's letter to Miers went far beyond the routine follow-up questions often put to nominees by individual senators. It asked for a wholesale re-examination of the questionnaire, noting that committee staffers already had identified additional cases she had neglected to include.

Leahy said reactions to the questionnaire by senators on the Judiciary Committee ranged from "insulting" to "incomplete."

"Certainly it was inadequate and did not give us enough to prepare for a hearing," Leahy said.

Specter said he agreed.

The things she did list were seriously exaggerated and puffed.

Miers can now try to convince the Senate and the public that she is honest competent, and not responsible for the misrepresentation that her firm paid multimillions to settle; the tax shelter work for which the firm charged $50,000 per letter and with respect to which investigations are ongoing; the fees paid to her firm by a lottery contractor when she was head of the lottery commission; or the trauma caused to hundreds of small town Texans in the Heart of Texas who lost their savings to Ponzi scheme promoters who ran the money through the IOLTA trust account of the firm she ran.

She can tell them that she is great because she is the First Woman President of the State Bar of Texas who was elected after being suspended for nonpayment of dues, and who practiced law with a suspended license, while not knowing that it was suspended. She is a trailblazer.

As the President said, when announcing her nomination:

A Justice must be a person of accomplishment and sound legal judgment. A Justice must be a person of fairness and unparalleled integrity. . . .

It is now my duty to select a nominee to fill the seat that will be left vacant by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Once again, I considered a wide variety of distinguished Americans from different walks of life. Once again, we consulted with Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate. We received good advice from more than 80 senators. And once again, one person stood out as exceptionally well suited to sit on the Highest Court of our nation.

... Harriet has built a reputation for fairness and integrity. When I came to office as the governor of Texas, the Lottery Commission needed a leader of unquestioned integrity. I chose Harriet because I knew she would earn the confidence of the people of Texas....

... In selecting a nominee, I've sought to find an American of grace, judgment and unwavering devotion to the Constitution and laws of our country. Harriet Miers is just such a person.

I've known Harriet for more than a decade. I know her heart, I know her character. I know that Harriet's mother is proud of her today, and I know her father would be proud of her, too. I'm confident that Harriet Miers will add to the wisdom and character of our judiciary when she is confirmed as the 110th Justice of the Supreme Court...

If you were the Presidential speechwriter, is there anything in those remarks that you would change?


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