Monday, October 03, 2005

First Take on Harriet Miers

For those who missed it somehow, the President has nominated someone named Harriet Miers to take Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The item on Harriet Miers' resumé that caught my eye was her work for the Texas Lottery Commission, between 1995 and 2000. Here's the New York Times profile:

In 1995, Mr. Bush, then in his first months as governor of Texas, appointed Ms. Miers to a six-year term as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission. Ms. Miers unexpectedly resigned after five years that were marked by controversy and the dismissal of two executive directors of the commission. The first executive director, Nora Linares, was fired in 1997 when it became public that her boyfriend had worked for the company that held the contract to operate the lottery. Ms. Linares's successor was dismissed after only five months when he began reviewing campaign contributions of state legislators without the commission's knowledge. Despite the problems, as well as the lottery's declining sales, The Dallas Morning News praised Ms. Miers when she resigned in 2000 for ''preserving the operations' integrity.'

It looks like she came out of her work with the lottery untouched by the scandals. The Houston Chronicle has more details on the Texas Lottery Commission scandals, and ends with this interesting nugget:

Miers resigned as lottery commission chairman in 2000. She said her resignation had nothing to do with lagging sales in its biggest game, Lotto Texas.

Miers resigned from the Texas Lottery Commission, in short, because she managed it poorly. She joined Bush's staff in 2001, and held such luminous positions as "White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy" (2003-2004) before winding up as White House Counsel last November.

She's a notch less embarrassing than Michael Brown, in the sense that she does have some experience in politics. But it's still pretty underwhelming.


Anonymous said...

What is particularly amusing about this pick is that Bush essentially left himself open to the one attack that everyone from the Framers' to Senator Brownback agree on...cronyism.

When first drafting the advise and consent clause, there was significant worry about nepotism and cronyism. That worry translated into senatorial review of Presidential nominations.

As the process became more and more politicized, there were more debates about what could be used as ground for rejection. However, no one has said that the original concerns of cronyism have been allayed. As a result, you can be sure that opponents of Miers will be chanting cronyism as often as possible.

The fact that she seems largely unqualified and a "stealth" nominee suggests strongly that this is an opportune time for the Democratic party to strike and deliver a splitting blow to the Repubs. After all, this nomination might get voted down based purely on Repub votes. And this will prompt the showdown between the right wing and the center of the Repub. party.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous said...

If a fairly unintelligent person like George Bush can become the president, why can't Harriet Miers become the chief justice?

10:26 PM  
SY said...

John Roberts is Chief Justice. But thank you for playing.

10:51 PM  

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