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Miers Withdraws Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court

Said confirmation process would burden White House, country

Posted: October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers, President Bush’s pick to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court, has withdrawn her nomination, the White House announced October 27.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 Land.

Following is President Bush’s statement:

(begin text)

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 for her.

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.

(end text)


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