The Barking Dogs of Texas
The title of the post is a take on the old line from Sherlock Holmes about the dog that didn't bark.
I've been trying to listen carefully to the dogs that are barking from Texas, the people that have known her best for many years, both friends and foes. (The boldface is mine).
Lorlee Bartos, friend:
"She is on the extreme end of the anti-choice movement," said Lorlee Bartos, who managed Ms. Miers' first and only political campaign and said they discussed abortion once during the race.
Joy Mankoff, foe:
In another instance, candidate Miers agreed to sit down with a group of abortion rights activists. Operation Rescue was staging regular protests at area abortion clinics, and the group of about 10 women who met with Miers wanted to know whether she supported a 1985 city ordinance that protected patients from harassment. Four of the women in attendance said in interviews that Miers was immovable.
"She said, well, I'm sorry, it's murder, and that's that," said Joy Mankoff, founder of a local women's political action network. "There was no room for any discussion."
Although the women left the meeting convinced that Miers was completely opposed to abortion rights, one, liberal lawyer Louise B. Raggio, continued to support Miers and still does. Miers, for her part, has raised money to promote a lecture series on women's issues bearing Raggio's name. The first speaker was feminist Gloria Steinem.
Or Molly Ivins, foe (think Texas' answer to Maureen Dowd):
What the nomination means in larger terms for both law and society is the fifth vote on the court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Miers had the support of feminists when she ran for office first in the Dallas bar and later when she became the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association, even though the feminists were aware she was anti-choice.
One of Miers' key backers was Louise Raggio, a much-revered Dallas feminist lawyer. The women lawyers groups favored Miers despite her stand on abortion because she was a candidate acceptable to the Establishment, thus making her electable as a woman.
The slightly feminist tinge to her credentials is a plus, but she is quite definitely anti-abortion.
She ran for city council in 1989 as a moderate, but struggled during her interview with the lesbian/gay coalition. (At the time, it would have been considered progressive to even show up.) The Dallas Police Department did not then hire gays or lesbians, and when asked about the policy, Miers replied the department should hire the best-qualified people, the classic political sidestep answer.When pressed, she said she did believe one should be able to legally discriminate against gays, and it is the recollection of two of the organization's officers that the response involved her religious beliefs.
Louise Raggio, SMU feminist: “She is not pro-choice. She told us so and stood her ground,” said Louise Raggio, now 85 and the only woman in the graduating law school class at SMU in 1952. “Sure, it concerns me, because I don’t know what she’ll do on Roe versus Wade. But I do know that she’ll stick to the Constitution.”
Ken Rainey, Texas bar:
I have had the privilege to spend many hours working with her both on matters that related to the bar’s role in public service as well as a couple of cases where she and I represented a common client. I can tell you, by whatever standard you choose to judge her, litmus test included, she is, as we say East of the Pine Curtain, ‘good folks’. In addition to that, she is brilliant.
She appears, as I have observed, to be a strict constructionist if by that term one means not using the courthouse or the law to ” legislate from the bench.” On more than one occasion I have been in meetings and conferences with her when she would look over at me or someone and say: “what’s the law?” Not, “what result do you want to squeeze out of the question “, but “what’s the law”?
Colleen McHugh, Texas Bar:
"That she is hard-working explains why she is able to do so much...She is also brilliant."
Ken Starr: (Hannity and Colmes interview)
Starr: I think she's terrific...I've known Harriet Miers for over 15 years....She is enormously talented.
Hannity: Do you have any doubts whatsoever that she's an originalist in the mold of a Scalia or Thomas?...
Starr: ...I don't.
From Kyleen Wright, Texans for Life (via NRO): Harriet Miers gave $150 to the organization — then known as Texans United for Life — in 1989. Miers was a bronze patron for their annual dinner in which Henry Hyde was the keynote speaker. She was listed in the program as a bronze sponsor.
Beldar, Texas lawyer and blogger: I've gotten unsolicited emails from a former professor of hers; a fellow editor on the Southwestern Law Journal; a former colleague in a high leadership position of the State Bar of Texas; several lawyers who've had cases with and against her; and three different lawyers (including a judge) who've practiced with her and/or who describe her as a role model, pioneer, and a personal inspiration. Percentage thanking me for publishing factual and detailed information about Ms. Miers' record: 100 percent. Percentage expressing any doubts about her fitness for the Court based on personal knowledge and dealings with her: Zero.
The notion that Harriet Miers' only qualification, or even her main qualification, is her friendship with Dubya is outrageous.