Cronies and Why They Should All Be Removed
President Bush nominated his personal lawyer and long-time friend Harriet Miers to Sandra Day O'Connor's crucial swing seat on the Supreme Court. With no judicial experience and an extremely thin public record, even leading right-wing pundits are calling her "transparently a crony"1 with "non-existent"2 qualifications.
President Bush has refused to release any documents from Miers' time in the White House,3 and claimed he could not "recall" any conversations with Miers about abortion over 10 years of friendship and legal service.4 The people deserve the facts.
Next week our senators will be home on recess, and will be looking closely at the local press for their constituents' reactions. This is a perfect time to write a letter-to-the-editor urging the Senate to demand real answers about Harriet Miers' views.
What is clear is the deep personal and professional connection shared by Harriet Miers and George W. Bush. Here's what some members have uncovered about their long relationship:
From David, of Howell, MI:
When Miers was Bush's appointee to head the Texas State Lottery Commission, the lottery was accused by a former director of awarding multi-million dollar no-bid contracts to a technology firm represented by former Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes. Barnes has since said he helped Bush escape active duty in Vietnam, and the lottery director alleged that Barnes demanded, (and under Miers received) the lucrative public contracts to keep quiet about Bush's military service.6
From Paula, of San Mateo, CA
As Governor, Bush signed a law blocking Texas consumers from collecting a $6 billion dollar judgment against car dealers for predatory lending and keeping secret kickbacks. The law firm Miers headed represented the auto dealers.7
From Nancy of Austin, TX
Miers was hired as legal counsel on both Bush's gubanatorial campaigns. Among other things, her research was used to persuade a local judge to excuse then Governor Bush from jury duty, a civic task that would have forced him to disclose his 1976 arrest for drunken driving in Maine. He was then able to keep his arrest secret until late in the 2000 presidential campaign.8
From Stephen of Birmingham, AL:
Miers's personal friendship and allegiance to Bush has been cited for years in connection with her promotions, including to her highest post of White House Counsel.9
Cronyism on the Supreme Court is a serious threat to our democracy. In fact Alexander Hamilton specifically argued that the Senate should be empowered to confirm or reject judicial nominees in part to prevent the President from using the Court to reward friends and political allies.10
The call to reject cronyism and secrecy is bipartisan. As conservative columnist, George F. Will put it today, "The president's "argument" for [Miers] amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons."11 We may have different reasons not to take Bush at his word, but we can all agree on the need for more information.
It's now up to us to make sure our senators demand that information, and refuse to offer a lifetime appointment to a swing seat on the Supreme Court as an act of faith. If you write a letter-to-the-editor today, you can help make sure the media, your community and the Senate hear this message loud and clear.
1 Statement by Michelle
Malkin, October 3rd, 2005
2 Statement by Patrick Buchanan, October 3rd, 2005
3 "Bush Seeks to Quell Criticism of Court Nominee from the Right," New York Times, 10/4/05
4 "Bush base rattled by court pick" Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/05/05
6 Texas Speaker Reportedly Helped Bush Get Into Guard" The Washington Post, 9/21/99
7 "What's the deal with Harriet Miers?" The Village Voice, 10/03/05
8 "Miers ties to Bush include personal lawyer" Associated Press, 10/03/05
9 "Bush promotes Miers from staff to Counsel" The Washington Post 11/18/04
10 Federalist Papers #76 by Alexander Hamilton:
11 "Can this nomination be justified?" George G. Will column in the Washington Post, 10/05/05