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Day 17

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An Open Letter to Bush

Harriet Miers, a Pre-Judger of Cases

by RALPH NADER

Dear President Bush:

Your position regarding the nomination of Harriet Miers to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is increasingly untenable, even with your own Party, for reasons well known to you.

Moreover, before the general public, the nomination has a distinct aroma of cronyism deeply marinated in a sauce of secrecy. You have chosen your chief legal counsel and loyal political supporter. Nominating your confidante and insisting that her White House record be confidential is a difficult sell to the American people. They may believe that you can’t have it both ways. If you wish to maintain internal White House confidentiality, then do not nominate a confidante to the highest court in the land.

A major responsibility of the White House Counsel is to advise the President on the legality of various courses of action. This, undoubtedly, has kept her very busy. The Senate and the people deserve to learn how she has performed in this regard.

Our experience with this responsibility has not been encouraging. In a letter dated July 18, I, along with Kevin Zeese, wrote to Ms. Miers in her role as Counsel to the President concerning a matter of integrity in your administration. Under 5 U.S.C. 7321 Mr. Rove was required to allocate his expenditures separating time and resources spent on political activity from his time spent as a staff member in the White House. It was a simple request by fax and hard copy regarding the allocation of Karl Rove’s expenditures during the 2004 presidential campaign. Mr. Rove was the central figure in your re-election campaign. Indeed, you described Mr. Rove as "the architect" of your re-election. At the same time he was working on your re-election campaign he was also serving as your Senior Adviser overseeing planning, political affairs, public liaison, and intergovernmental affairs. He took no leave of absence from his taxpayer-funded position during the campaign. Three months later we still have not received a response of any kind. Why? The failure to respond now also raises questions about Ms. Miers, whom you described today as "a leader of unquestioned integrity."

The Miers nomination has more and more signs of being unsustainable. Any defection by already outspoken Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, together with the Democrats’ votes, could block her nomination in Committee.

You would be well advised to withdraw the nomination and cease searching for ideologically-driven judicial nominees who are essentially ‘prejudgers’ of cases.

Sincerely,
RALPH NADER
PO Box 19312
Washington, DC 20036