Bush nominates crony with no judicial experience to Supremes. What a surprise.

Bush has nominated Harriet Miers to replace Justice O’Connor. The first woman elected to the Texas Bar, she was Bush’s personal attorney in Texas, and has served as Counsel to the President since Feb, 2005. Even the conservatives admit that her only qualification is that she’s a Bush crony. She has no, zero, none, nada experience as a judge. She’s never even sat on a traffic court, much less the judicial experience that one expects Supreme Court nominees to possess. What do we know about her? She’s a Bush crony, very loyal, and no real paper trail–again. And she was the person who picked Roberts (and “lost” those papers). Harriet Ellan Miers is White House counsel and was formerly President Bush’s personal lawyer in Texas. Miers met Bush in the 1980s, according to published reports, and she was counsel for his 1994 campaign for governor. He appointed her chair of the Texas Lottery Commission in 1995. She was in charge of the selection committe that nominated her. Hello?

My impression of how the conversation went:
Bush: So, who do you like for the Supremes, Harriet?
Miers: Well, I bet Sandra’s robes would fit me…plus, I could still be your lawyer, only quieter.
Bush: Works for me… I’m going for a bike ride.

Also, she’s said on the record that Bush is: “The most brilliant man she’s ever met.” That right there should be reason to throw her resume in the “Oh. No.” category. Either she doesn’t know any men, or she’s really a bit dim. The man can barely wrangle a sentence.

Here’s her resume. A little on the thin side for a Supreme. (I’ve got it backed up in case the web version disappears.)

Let’s talk a little bit about the Lottery Commission, coverups and cronyism, shall we?

The Bushies’ concern began while he was running for a second term as governor. A hard-nosed Dallas lawyer named Harriet Miers was retained to investigate the issue; state records show Miers was paid $19,000 by the Bush gubernatorial campaign. She and other aides quickly identified a problem–rumors that Bush had help from his father in getting into the National Guard back in 1968. Ben Barnes, a prominent Texas Democrat and a former speaker of the House in the state legislature, told friends he used his influence to get George W a guard slot after receiving a request from Houston oilman Sid Adger. Barnes said Adger told him he was calling on behalf of the elder George Bush, then a Texas congressman. Both Bushes deny seeking any help from Barnes or Adger, who has since passed away. Concerned that Barnes might go public with his allegations, the Bush campaign sent Don Evans, a friend of W’s, to hear Barnes’s story. Barnes acknowledged that he hadn’t actually spoken directly to Bush Sr. and had no documents to back up his story. As the Bush campaign saw it, that let both Bushes off the hook. And the National Guard question seemed under control.

So far, intriguing…but it gets better, and more complicated. At roughly the same time all of this was happening, Miers was also the Bush-named chair of the scandal-plagued Texas Lottery Commission. The biggest issue before Miers and the commission was whether to retain lottery operator Gtech, which had been implicated in a bribery scandal. Gtech’s main lobbyist in Texas in the mid-1990s? None other than that same Ben Barnes who had the goods on how Bush got into the Guard and avoided Vietnam.

In 1997, Barnes was abruptly fired by Gtech. That’s a bad thing, right? Well, on the other hand, they also gave him a $23 million severance payment. A short time later, Gtech — despite the ongoing scandals — got its contract renewed over two lower bidders. A former executive director thought the whole thing stunk:

The suit involving Barnes was brought by former Texas lottery director Lawrence Littwin, who was fired by the state lottery commission, headed by Bush appointee Harriet Miers, in October 1997 after five months on the job. It contends that Gtech Corp., which runs the state lottery and until February 1997 employed Barnes as a lobbyist for more than $3 million a year, was responsible for Littwin’s dismissal.

Littwin’s lawyers have suggested in court filings that Gtech was allowed to keep the lottery contract, which Littwin wanted to open up to competitive bidding, in return for Barnes’s silence about Bush’s entry into the Guard.

Barnes and his lawyers have denounced this “favor-repaid” theory in court pleadings as “preposterous . . . fantastic [and] fanciful.” Littwin was fired after ordering a review of the campaign finance reports of various Texas politicians for any links to Gtech or other lottery contractors. Littwin reportedly settled with Gtech for $300,000.

I think it’s a Machievallian . move. She has no paper trail, thus nothing that can be used *against* her in the Senate hearings. Also, Bush is buying a lot of insurance on the Supremes, in case we ever see a war crimes trial. (Hey, it could happen…the Democrats could grow a spine…I hear cloning is going well.) But, odds are they’ll confirm her, because they’re living in fear of what lunatic Bush could nominate instead of her. Because the Dems have become the party of fear. Cowards, the whole lot of them.

Seriously, if Hitler were unearthed, zombiefied, walking the earth, and Bush nominated him to the Court, there would be a contingent of Democrats suggesting that we should support the nominee in case Bush nominated someone worse.

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