- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

Harriet Miers’ lack of a judicial paper trail yesterday prompted anxious Republicans to express doubts about the Supreme Court nominee, but her supporters say the born-again Christian has a purebred conservative pedigree.

“Those of us who know her know that she’s a conservative,” said Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht.

“She has supported a lot of conservative candidates here in Texas. She works for a conservative president. She attends an evangelical church, and has for 25 years, and she was a conservative leader in the American Bar Association,” Justice Hecht, who has known Miss Miers for 30 years, told The Washington Times.

Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the conservative Federalist Society, said Miss Miers “has been a forceful advocate of conservative legal principles and judicial restraint throughout her career. She led a campaign to have the American Bar Association end its practice of supporting abortion-on-demand and taxpayer-funded abortions.”

And Vice President Dick Cheney said, “I think you’ll find that Harriet is rock-solid, from a philosophical standpoint.

“I think she will, in fact, represent the conservative view of the court, the kind that the president has said he would, in fact, nominate if elected.”

Known for thoroughness and her low-profile, Miss Miers, 60, is one of the first White House staff members to arrive at the White House in the morning and among the last to leave. She has no children, never married and spends most of her time working.

Miss Miers was born in Dallas on Aug. 10, 1945, four days after the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in World War II. One of five children, she majored in mathematics at Southern Methodist University.

Her father died when she was a freshman. Already close with her mother, now 93, the two became even closer after his death.

“Her mother’s constant encouragement was a strong force for her,” Justice Hecht said.

Miss Miers closed her brief remarks in accepting the nomination at the White House yesterday by saying: “I have a special note this morning for my mom: Thank you for your faith, your strength, your courage, your love and beauty of spirit.”

Miss Miers went on to law school at SMU, earning her degree in 1970. After graduation, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Joe Estes. In 1972, she joined the Texas law firm of Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely, working mostly as a commercial litigator.

In 1985, Miss Miers became the first female president of the Dallas Bar Association, and in 1992, she was elected as the first female president of the Texas State Bar.

In 1989, she was elected to a two-year term as an at-large candidate on the Dallas City Council, and in 1993, George W. Bush hired her as his personal attorney. Two years later, as governor, he appointed her chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission.

In 1996, she was elected president of her law firm, becoming the first woman to lead a major Texas firm, which was founded in the 1890s. After winning the White House, Mr. Bush chose her to serve as his staff secretary. She later served as deputy chief of staff for policy in 2003 and as White House counsel in 2004.

Some conservatives have questioned why she donated $1,000 to Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign, but Justice Hecht said there’s a simple explanation.

Mr. Cheney said yesterday that her law firm “apparently hosted an event for Gore when he was running for president the first time.”

Said Justice Hecht: “The firm probably passed the hat and said, ‘We’re going to give money to everyone.’ That’s what law firms do.”

But Miss Miers has a history of supporting conservative candidates and is active in her evangelical church, the Valley View Christian Church. Raised Catholic, she became a born-again Christian in June 1979.

“The church is pro-life, always has been, and that is consistent with her view,” Justice Hecht said.

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