Harriet Miers, President
Bush’s pick to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
on the U.S. Supreme Court, has withdrawn her nomination,
the White House announced October 27.
Miers, who has served as White House counsel
since February, was nominated by the president on October
3. (See related article.)
In her withdrawal letter, Miers cited concerns
about Senate Judiciary Committee members’ requests
for White House documents pertaining to her service, saying
that the release of such documents, although necessary to
advance her confirmation, would jeopardize the independence
of the executive branch of the U.S. government.
“Protection of the prerogatives of
the Executive Branch and continued pursuit of my confirmation
are in tension,” she wrote. “I have decided
that seeking my confirmation should yield.”
President Bush said he reluctantly accepted
her withdrawal but shares her concern that the release of
White House documents would undermine any president’s
ability to receive frank counsel from advisers.
“Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates
her deep respect for this essential aspect of the Constitutional
separation of powers--and confirms my deep respect and admiration
for her,” he said.
For more information on the nomination and
confirmation process, see The
Supreme Court of the United States: Highest Court in the
Following is President Bush’s statement:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 27, 2005
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today, I have reluctantly accepted Harriet
Miers' decision to withdraw her nomination to the Supreme
Court of the United States.
I nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme
Court because of her extraordinary legal experience, her
character, and her conservative judicial philosophy. Throughout
her career, she has gained the respect and admiration of
her fellow attorneys. She has earned a reputation for fairness
and total integrity. She has been a leader and a pioneer
in the American legal profession. She has worked in important
positions in state and local government and in the bar.
And for the last five years, she has served with distinction
and honor in critical positions in the Executive Branch.
I understand and share her concern, however,
about the current state of the Supreme Court confirmation
process. It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied
until they gained access to internal documents concerning
advice provided during her tenure at the White House - disclosures
that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid
counsel. Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect
for this essential aspect of the Constitutional separation
of powers - and confirms my deep respect and admiration
I am grateful for Harriet Miers' friendship
and devotion to our country. And I am honored that she will
continue to serve our Nation as White House Counsel.
My responsibility to fill this vacancy remains.
I will do so in a timely manner.