Tea Leaves on Miers

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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.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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