The White House on Monday brought in six former justices of the Texas Supreme Court to voice support for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and try to quell grumbling about her from conservative Republicans.
The event marked an attempt by White House officials to change the subject to Miers’ legal credentials from last week when the administration got bogged down in a debate over her religion.
The six former justices, all of them men, said they had worked with Miers while she was a lawyer in Dallas and they endorsed her Supreme Court nomination.
“I’d trust her with my wife and with my life,” former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Hill told reporters on the White House driveway after a meeting with President George W. Bush.
The White House has some major work to do to shore up Miers’ chances of Senate confirmation. Some conservatives want Bush to withdraw her nomination and pick an experienced judge with known conservative views who could shift the balance of the nine-member high court firmly to the right.
“I think this is an excellent choice by the president of the United States and I think when people get to know her and understand her like we do, they’ll find her an excellent choice. And she’ll be a legend on that court before her career is finished,” said former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch.
Americans are expressing uncertainty about her. A Fox News poll last week said 35 percent of Americans did not know whether she should be confirmed or not, compared to 37 percent who said she should be confirmed and 28 percent who were opposed.
Senate Republicans would like to begin Miers’ confirmation hearing by the Judiciary Committee on Nov. 7, with a vote by the full U.S. Senate before the Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Day holiday, aides said. No agreement has been reached with Democrats.
“We hope to work something out in the next few days,” one aide said.