Tea Leaves on Miers

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


To add to Ryan Lizza’s dossier, which suggests that Miers supports the International Criminal Court, gay adoption, and hiking property taxes in her spare time, here are some random Nexis bits about the nominee, in a mostly-futile attempt to try to glean her opinions about various matters. The short answer: There’s really not much to discover. Hearsay has it that she’s reliably conservative, but she hasn’t made much noise in that direction, at least publicly. First, a quote from her 2000, working for Locke Liddel and Sapp in Dallas, discussing the need for women-friendly workplaces:

Harriet Miers, co-managing partner of Locke Liddell and Sapp in Dallas, says firms need to adopt policies that are friendly to families to aid women who are pulled in many different directions. Those policies could include part-time employment, flex time, on-site child care or dependent-care assistance.

Way back in 1994, after she stepped down as president of the Texas Bar, she led the push to get the American Bar Association to adopt a neutrality stance on abortion. Texas Lawyer reported:

At the August 1993 meeting in New York, the neutrality advocates, led this time by Locke Purnell Rain Harrell partner Harriet Miers of Dallas, failed to set aside the abortion rights policy. They then shifted strategy and asked the ABA to poll all its members — not just those in the House of Delegates — on the abortion question.

She was pushing for this, as far as I can tell, in her capacity as a private citizen. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s rabidly pro-life, but it’s an inkling in that direction. Meanwhile, in 1993, here’s Miers talking about the need for better court-appointed lawyers to defend death-penalty cases:

But Bar President Harriet Miers, a member of the ABA Journal’s board of editors, said the state’s reliance on volunteer lawyers in life and death matters is “unacceptable.”

That’s a liberal policy position, although I’m not sure if it was one you’d expect a Bar President to take up anyway. That year she was also supportive of rules to restrict lawyer advertising in the “public interest”:

Harriet Miers of Dallas, 1992-93 Bar president, said she supports Morrison’s proposed changes to the Bar’s rules. “This is a very timely plan,” she said. “Public concern about lawyer advertising is at an all- time high. I applaud Lonny Morrison for addressing the issue head-on and I’m confident that, with his leadership in the coming Bar year, we will succeed in getting a positive response from Texas attorneys to effect a change.”

Not sure what that means, but there you go. As it happens, she was also supportive of rules regulating ambulance-chasing by lawyers; so either she’s not averse to regulation or she’s not averse to regulation of lawyers. By the way, a Houston Chronicle article from 1992 on lawyer jokes notes that Miers doesn’t seem to mind them. So, uh, there. For the record, I think she’s a terrible pick, but I can also see why conservatives are a bit uneasy right now.

MORE: Garance Franke-Ruta has other clips, including Miers’ thoughts in 1992 on whether a president should ask a judicial nominee her thoughts on Roe vs. Wade: “Nominees are clearly prohibited from making such a commitment and presidents are prohibited from asking for it,” and that people who want such commitments display “a misunderstanding of the separation of powers by proposing that judicial nominees should mirror a president’s views.” Interesting.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate