Monday, October 17, 2005

Harriet Miers and the other Texas Supreme Court Justices

There is probably a better way to do this, but I am new to blogging, here it is. Orin Kerr posted this at The Volohk Conspiracy, and I posted a comment responding. It seems worthwhile so I post both for context.


[Orin Kerr, October 17, 2005 at 4:39pm] 0 Trackbacks / Possibly More Trackbacks
Texas Judges on Miers (Sort Of):

President Bush met with six former Texas state court judges today about the Miers nomination. Reports from last week predicted that the judges would detail the cases that Miers had argued before them, and explain why she did a good job and why they thought she was qualified for the Supreme Court. If today's press event is all that has been planned, however, it looks like we're going to be left disappointed: The entire event was about one minute long, and most of that time was taken by the President (video and transcript here).

 The only statement other than Bush's was by John Hill, Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court in the 1980s. Hill is a personal friend of Miers who was appointed by Bush to the Texas Lottery Commission in 1997. Here is Hill's statement in its entirety:
"Mr. President, we just all want to thank you for this nomination. We’re excited about it, and we’re here to try to let the people of America know what we all know, that she is an absolutely fantastic person and a great lawyer and will make a great judge."
  Does anyone know if we're going to hear more from these judges? That seems like a rather short quote for such a long trip.

  I hunted around Google News for additional statements, and found another news report that offers two more quotes. In it, Hill adds "I'd trust her with my wife and with my life." Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch says, "I think this is an excellent choice by the president of the United States and I think when people get to know her and understand her like we do, they'll find her an excellent choice. And she'll be a legend on that court before her career is finished." But I haven't been able to find anything else.

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My response:

I may be able to help. I posted several items on my new blog. Included is my take on her four - yes four - Texas appellate cases. All were at the intermediate court of appeals. None were heard by the Texas Supreme Court. All involved other counsel representing her client. I do not know if she presented any oral argument. I do not know if she wrote any brief. She did make the list of attorneys, and she may have done everything for her clients, or almost nothing. I look forward to seeing your reaction to her cases.

If the White House said the Texas Supreme Court Justices would recount her sucessful oral arguments in the Texas Supreme Court, one can only be in awe of the public relations operation behind this nomination.

In other words, this is a transcript of all of her oral arguments in the Texas Supreme Court:

(begin)


(end)


Maybe the Justices did tell all there was to tell about them.

Is this snarky? Maybe so. It is hard to be precise and correct without being a bit harsh.

It was not Harriet Miers who said she argued in the Texas Supreme Court. The article you linked does not say what she did. The AP writter assumes that she did something important and the justices know about it. I think the White House press office thought so too.

Senator Cornyn was also on the Texas Supreme Court. Hill, Phillips, and Enoch were on the court. They knew Miers socially and from Bar and Court functions. That is what they know. They are doing what they can for the Texan who is nominated to the court. And, some of them practice law, and do not want to offend people who matter to their practice.

Yes, they are doing as much as they can do, and saying as much as they can say.

Actually, I am impressed. They have to say nice things and be supportive, but they avoided saying too much. A sound bite. Stop. The best they can do.

Links to the cases are at my blog. There are Federal cases too. Do not expect too much.

The White House may have made a mistake by puffing her history. It is sometimes better to understate and have people pleasantly surprised. They did not leave much for a pleasant surprise.

But, she was involved in the selection process. Do we feel sorry for her? I am not sure how to feel about her being in this position. She has been hung out to dry.
10.17.2005 6:15pm

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