TBogg

The Constitution Ate My Homework


“Senator? Are you familiar with
the term: ‘pearl necklace’? Hmmmmm?”
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Harriet Miers, “detailed-minded“:

Miers herself is considered extremely fastidious, detail-oriented. A former White House staffer describes her as “incredibly diligent and precise.” Before becoming White House counsel last year, she was staff secretary, a little-known but extremely important job in the White House—one, for instance, previously held during the Clinton years by John Podesta, who went on to become Clinton’s Chief of Staff. The staff secretary is in charge of the paper flow around the White House and is generally the person who literally puts documents in front of the President to sign. It tends to be filled by someone with unquestioned loyalty and competence.

Harriet Miers, “needs to show work“:

The Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers suffered another setback on Wednesday when the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her to resubmit parts of her judicial questionnaire, saying various members had found her responses “inadequate,” “insufficient” and “insulting.”

Senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the committee chairman, and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat, sent Ms. Miers a letter faulting what they called incomplete responses about her legal career, her work in the White House, her potential conflicts on cases involving the administration and the suspension of her license by the District of Columbia Bar.

Their letter also asked her to provide detailed accounts of private reassurances about her views given by the White House or its allies to some conservative supporters who have been anxious about her positions on abortion and other social issues.

The letter asked Ms. Miers to respond within a week. Mr. Specter said he had scheduled hearings on her confirmation to begin Nov. 7, overruling Democratic objections that they did not have enough information to evaluate her because of her scant record on constitutional issues before joining the White House. Both Mr. Specter and Mr. Leahy said they would not set any deadline for the conclusion of the hearings.

“If the questions are not answered or their answer is incomplete, as they have been, then it’s going to be a long hearing indeed,” Mr. Leahy said.

Veteran senators and aides said they could not recall another occasion when the committee had sent back a nominee’s answers to a questionnaire because they were incomplete. Former Senator Daniel R. Coats of Indiana, the administration’s appointed guide for Ms. Miers on Capitol Hill, defended her answers in the Senate questionnaire as a work in progress.

“From the very first, Harriet Miers told Senator Specter that she had years of files to go through and that there would likely have to be a follow-up on some of the questions,” Mr. Coats said. “She’s more than willing to diligently provide the information as soon as possible. As you know, it’s mountains of information.”

Mr. Specter, however, has said that Ms. Miers told him last week that she would complete the questionnaire by last Friday.

Miers will be showing up in Specter’s office tomorrow after class work, with few extra buttons unbuttoned, coyly asking the Senator if he can give her an “extension” if you know what I mean and I think you do but wish you didn’t.

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