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The Harriet Miers file

Issue: "Miers doesn't fit the mold," Oct. 15, 2005

Born: Aug. 10, 1945 in Dallas, the fourth of five children.

Education: B.S., Southern Methodist University, math major, 1967. J.D., SMU, 1970, served on law review.

Legal experience: Clerked for U.S. District Judge Joe E. Estes, 1970-72. Joined as an associate in 1972 the corporate law firm that, after several mergers, became Locke Liddell & Sapp. She was promoted to partner in 1978 and had many large clients, including Microsoft.

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Governmental experience: Chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission; positions with President Bush culminating in her appointment as White House counsel.

Church membership: Valley View Christian Church, but the church is in the middle of a split that began when Pastor Ron Key did not go along with the decision of the board of elders that he reduce his leadership role and agree to emphasize a contemporary worship service so as to attract more members. Ms. Miers is apparently siding with the group that will stick with Mr. Key and form a new church that will give half its revenues to mission work; Valley View has cut back its missions support.

Controversies that have already emerged (with more, undoubtedly, to come):

Is she pro-life? Nathan Hecht says so, as does Lorlee Bartos, Ms. Miers' campaign manager when she ran for the Dallas City Council in 1989: "I think Harriet's belief was pretty strongly felt." Much speculation concerns why Ms. Miers, as president of the Texas State Bar in 1993, urged American Bar Association execs not to decree a pro-choice position but to put the abortion issue to a referendum of the group's full membership. Judge Ed Kinkeade sees that as evidence of her pro-life beliefs: "Why's she going to take on that fight otherwise? Didn't help her politically."

Why did she contribute to Democrats? After becoming a Christian in the 1980s her political allegiance moved from Democrat to Republican, but she made contributions of $1,000 to Lloyd Bentsen in 1987, Al Gore in 1988, and the Democratic National Committee that same year. Co-worker Rob Mowrey explains, "Our firm had long done legal work for a large mortgage banking company, Lomas & Nettleton"; its CEO, Jess Hay, was a Democratic Party stalwart who followed the general practice of "asking our firm, and the lawyers who worked on Lomas matters, to contribute to what he was involved in."


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