Tea Leaves on Miers

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.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

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


Support our journalism

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