Miers = legislating from the bench??


PDA






rick_reno
October 7, 2005, 08:47 PM
Does she? or doesn't she? I'm not going to rely on that love fest in the Senate to figure it out.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9623557/

WASHINGTON - President Bush praises Harriet Miers as an opponent of legislating from the judicial bench, but as a corporate lawyer she lobbied then-Gov. Bush to let the Texas high court rather than the Legislature decide if attorney fees should be limited.

In the process, Miers unleashed a verbal assault on trial lawyers who typically file lawsuits and whose cases sometimes land in the U.S. Supreme Court, where Bush now has nominated her to serve. She suggested they were “greedy” and had “brought shame” on Texas.

Reminding Bush that Republicans had just gained a majority on the state’s high court, Miers called the legislation a “self-protective” special-interest proposal and an assault on the court’s ability to oversee the legal profession, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press from Bush’s Texas archives.

If the bill became law, “once again Texas would be required to hang its head in shame for circumstances driven by a handful of greedy, but immensely rich and powerful lawyers,” Miers wrote under the letterhead of Texas law firm Locke Liddell & Sapp, which represented several major companies.

‘An assault’ on the Supreme Court
“This proposed law does violence to the balance of power between the legislative and judicial branch of our state’s government and constitutes an assault upon the powers of the Supreme Court,” Miers wrote Bush. “As a leader of the legal profession in this state, I am offended by such an assault.”

A conservative activist said the Senate Judiciary Committee should question Miers about the letter during confirmation hearings.

“If there is a bias toward judicial supremacy, it’s best that we know this now, in advance of a confirmation vote,” said Mark Levin, president of the conservative law firm Landmark Legal Foundation and author of a book on judicial activism.

“There’s absolutely no reason why the state legislature can’t regulate attorneys’ fees,” Levin said. “For one, judges are lawyers too. And surely the notion cannot be that the branch that’s most responsive to the public shouldn’t take the lead in a matter like this.”

Miers told Bush in her June 11, 1995, letter that she was speaking only in her capacity as a former president of the State Bar of Texas. Bush had recently appointed her to the Texas Lottery Commission.

Legislating from the bench
Miers’ correspondence emerges as some senators, including conservatives, question her selection to the nation’s high court.

In introducing her as his nominee, Bush said this week, “She will not legislate from the bench.” Miers echoed his comments, saying she had a duty to “help ensure that the courts meet their obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution.”

Bush, who made limits on lawsuits a priority as Texas governor, vetoed the legislation as Miers wanted. The bill was sponsored by a Democrat and supported by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

It would have barred the court, which has disciplinary power over Texas lawyers, from adopting rules that interfered with an attorney’s ability “to contract in the free market to provide legal services for a fee” or that discouraged competition “among attorneys to provide legal services at reasonable fees.”

No caps on attorney fees
Though Bush blocked the legislation, the court hasn’t capped attorney fees.

Had the court done so, it would have been “absolutely legislating from the bench,” said Dallas trial lawyer Fred Baron, who opposed long-running efforts in Texas to cap attorney fees.

While limits on fees would affect a range of law firms, they would hit personal-injury lawyers particularly hard, Baron said. Such lawyers typically do not get paid by clients unless they win, often taking a share of the damages. That arrangement has made some trial lawyers rich. It also has allowed people to hire lawyers when they couldn’t afford it.

“The evil was not the fact that the plaintiffs’ lawyers were making money. The evil was that the companies were being sued by victims, and they wanted to stop that, as they continuously do,” Baron said.

Corporate law firms not affected
Such fee limits would be unlikely to affect corporate law firms, which typically charge clients by the hour.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Miers’ position in the letter didn’t amount to using the courts to make law.

“Judges are not legislating from the bench when they are doing what the Legislature has given them the authority to do,” Perino said. “Legislating from the bench means supplanting the will of the Legislature or the meaning of the Constitution with a judge’s own personal policy predilection.”

Bill Whitehurst, who has served as president of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, said Miers’ letter can be read in part as a swipe at trial lawyers who were thought to be behind the legislation, but also as an effort to preserve the way the state handled lawyer discipline.

“Harriet is a supporter of President Bush’s tort reform agenda, and I don’t think she’s made any bones about that. But at the same time I believe she’s a lawyer’s lawyer and believes strongly in how we run our bar in Texas and that lawyers should discipline themselves,” Whitehurst said.

In her letter to Bush, Miers warned that those who allowed the legislation to become law would be “smeared with legitimate criticism for a blatant attempt to shield, protect and curry favor with interests that have brought shame on this state, badly hurt our economic development efforts directed at creating jobs and continue to this day to cause our state to be held in disrepute for ‘justice for sale.”’

If you enjoyed reading about "Miers = legislating from the bench??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
TimH
October 7, 2005, 09:37 PM
Maybe she will legislate backwards and decide the ban on machine guns and DC, NY, CA etc. gun laws are unconstitutional :p

rick_reno
October 7, 2005, 11:31 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush predicted Friday that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers will be confirmed, but a Senate Republican said she must overcome "the Souter factor," underscoring conservative worries that she'll vote the wrong way on the bench.

Asked he if would rule out ever seeing Miers' name withdrawn, Bush did not answer directly -- substituting instead words of confidence about her confirmation process. "She is going to be on the bench," he said. "She'll be confirmed."

Miers and her supporters are working the phones and knocking on doors to rally conservatives who argue that Bush has reneged on his promise to name justices with proven records as strong conservative.

"It's the Souter factor," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, referring to Supreme Court Justice David Souter, a little-known judge nominated for the court by the first President Bush who later turned out to be a liberal justice.

"I think conservatives do not have confidence she has a well-formed judicial philosophy, and they are afraid she might drift and be a part of the activist group like Justice Souter has," Sessions said Friday. "She will need to articulate a vision of the Constitution and the role of a judge that is sound or she could be in trouble with the Republican senators."

She met Friday with Sen. Conrad Burns, who called her an "outstanding woman" when Bush first revealed her as his pick. "Ms. Miers has a great sense of humor and a great understanding of the importance of the legal arena in our nation," the Montana Republican said after meeting her.

"I think conservatives do not have confidence she has a well-formed judicial philosophy, and they are afraid she might drift and be a part of the activist group like Justice Souter has," Sessions said Friday. "She will need to articulate a vision of the Constitution and the role of a judge that is sound or she could be in trouble with the Republican senators."

She met Friday with Sen. Conrad Burns, who called her an "outstanding woman" when Bush first revealed her as his pick. "Ms. Miers has a great sense of humor and a great understanding of the importance of the legal arena in our nation," the Montana Republican said after meeting her.

Because the 60-year-old Miers spent her career in private practice and as a member of Bush's White House staff, conservatives outside the nation's capital have little to hang their hopes on except the president's word that she would be a judge in the mold of Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas.

"She's got to convince the conservative world that she understands the word 'strict constructionist,"' said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, one of three Judiciary Committee conservatives who met Thursday with Miers. "She's going to have to fill in those blanks and create a comfort level."

While Miers worked conservatives inside the Capitol, her White House supporters worked the telephones to reassure grassroots conservatives that she won't become a liberal or a moderate if confirmed by the Senate.

Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, and other conservative leaders held a national teleconference Thursday with conservatives, trying to reassure listeners that Miers is the right person to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate whose vote has been critical on issues including abortion and affirmative action.

Miers also picked up an endorsement from first lady Laura Bush. "I think she'll be really terrific," she said.

But the White House hasn't convinced everyone.

"I think the president has created political trouble for himself by appointing a cypher after promising something else," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. "She may turn out to be a great judge. I'm sure she's going to get confirmed because Democrats seem to like her, but my own reaction to it is that it is not my fight, and I think that's the way that most conservatives feel about it."

Conservatives would have preferred a justice with proven conservative credentials, said GOP Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Senate Judiciary Committee member and possible 2008 presidential contender. "We're left gathering shreds of evidence in trying to determine how the candidate would vote on the key issues of the day," Brownback said after sitting down with Miers.

In an AP-Ipsos poll taken this week, two-thirds of those surveyed did not know enough about Miers to have an opinion about her. Just 41 percent said the Senate should confirm her, lower than similar ratings for Chief Justice John Roberts after his nomination in July; 27 percent said she should not be confirmed; 32 percent were not sure.

Miers is getting support from some prominent conservatives. Former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, who was ambassador to Germany, will serve as Miers' escort through the confirmation process. Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tennessee, did the same for Roberts this summer.

As a senator, Coats pushed legislation to restrict abortion, tried to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts because of grants it made to artists he said mocked God, and led the opposition to allowing gays in the military.

An internal battle over the nomination may hurt the GOP in next year's congressional elections, said Manuel Miranda, who used to work on judicial nominations for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee. Miranda now runs the conservative Third Branch Conference.

GT
October 8, 2005, 09:29 AM
She wrote a letter to Bush to urge him to veto a Democrat (sic) bill that would have impaired the ability of the Texas Bar to discipline its members while at the same time removing limitations on their fees.

I don't see the problem.

G

RealGun
October 8, 2005, 09:45 AM
If the Senators are so concerned about specific litmus tests, they should be proposing constitutional amendments in an effort to make the questions moot. But the deal is that if an amendment fails, everyone will shut up about it instead of trying to manipulate the Court, making one man's activism into another man's judicial restraint.

saltydog
October 8, 2005, 05:26 PM
Maybe she will legislate backwards and decide the ban on machine guns

Tim, I wish it was so but I got a $20.00 Bill say's it "ain't never going to happen, ever!" :cuss:

Hawkmoon
October 11, 2005, 12:22 AM
‘An assault’ on the Supreme Court
“This proposed law does violence to the balance of power between the legislative and judicial branch of our state’s government and constitutes an assault upon the powers of the Supreme Court,” Miers wrote Bush. “As a leader of the legal profession in this state, I am offended by such an assault.”

Intriguing!

Am I to understand that attorneys are considered by Ms. Miers to be a part of the judicial branch?

No, wait .. I see. Lawyers are people, just like me, but whereas the state can regulate all the other professions, only the judicial branch can regulate the practice of law?

That's a rather tortured bit of illogic.

Amusetec
October 11, 2005, 12:50 AM
If I understand her letter lawyers are part of the judical branch. If that is true how come they can serve in the legislative or executive branch? Seperation of Powers right?

Gen. Sam was right in not trusting lawyers.

Michigander
October 11, 2005, 08:37 AM
Since September 1994, Miers has contributed to the campaigns of various Republicans (at about same time she began to work for George W. Bush), including Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Phil Gramm, and Pete Sessions, with recorded contributions to Republican candidates and causes totaling nearly $12,000. Her earlier political history shows support for the Democrats during the 1980s, with recorded contributions to Democratic candidates and causes, including the Democratic National Committee, the Senate campaign of Lloyd Bentsen and the 1988 presidential campaign of Al Gore, totaling $3,000. Her last recorded contribution to a Democratic cause or campaign was in 1988. Ed Gillespie said that she was a "conservative Democrat" at the time.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Miers

I predict another closet lib appointed by another Republican! Sheesh! Will we ever learn?

RealGun
October 11, 2005, 08:43 AM
I predict another closet lib appointed by another Republican! Sheesh! Will we ever learn?

Always assume the worst, especially if it involves George W. Bush. :rolleyes:

Michigander
October 11, 2005, 08:49 AM
Always assume the worst, especially if it involves George W. Bush. When it comes to the fedgov, yes, I always assume the worst. I have not seen anything that tells me to assume anything more.

Most here at THR already know the Dems are bad; I'm just trying to point out that the Reps are bad too.

LAR-15
October 11, 2005, 12:15 PM
Yeah ol Mike Pence, John Shadegg, Ron Paul, Tom Coburn, Jim Demint, ect are just pure evilllllllllll............. :rolleyes:

bountyhunter
October 11, 2005, 12:59 PM
WASHINGTON - President Bush praises Harriet Miers as an opponent of legislating from the judicial bench, but as a corporate lawyer she lobbied then-Gov. Bush to let the Texas high court rather than the Legislature decide if attorney fees should be limited.

In the process, Miers unleashed a verbal assault on trial lawyers who typically file lawsuits and whose cases sometimes land in the U.S. Supreme Court, where Bush now has nominated her to serve. She suggested they were “greedy” and had “brought shame” on Texas.

Reminding Bush that Republicans had just gained a majority on the state’s high court, Miers called the legislation a “self-protective” special-interest proposal and an assault on the court’s ability to oversee the legal profession, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press from Bush’s Texas archives.

The bottom line has never changed for the knee jerk reactionaries. When the SC gives rulings to strike down or grossly restrict things they don't like (ie, abortion rights) the judges are courageous visionaries who are doing God's work.

When they uphold laws they don't like or return rulings that strike down state laws that conflict with federal statutes, they are evil minions of satan bent on legislating from the bench and subverting the will of the people.

Michigander
October 18, 2005, 06:47 AM
Yeah ol Mike Pence, John Shadegg, Ron Paul, Tom Coburn, Jim Demint, ect are just pure evilllllllllll............. :rolleyes:
Who said "evil"?

If we analyze all the SC Justices, their decisions on cases, and who appointed them, it is clear that both the Reps and Dems have lead us down the road of constitutional corruption. One would almost think they have had it planned this way for many years.

Tinfoil anyone?

If you enjoyed reading about "Miers = legislating from the bench??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!