The Spectacle Blog

Corporate Miers

By on 10.17.05 | 6:22PM

Finally, an interesting perspective on Harriet Miers, who in the fight over her future has been described as either saintly or a dolt with few other qualities allowed to creep in. In yesterday's Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post Lorraine Woellert of Business Week argued that Miers, like John Roberts before her, is a welcome nominee from Corporate America's perspective:

Lost in the bitter brouhaha over abortion, gay marriage, God and the flag is another important facet of the Supreme Court debate: Miers has a blue-chip résumé that would wow Wall Street. Her record on constitutional issues is thin, but Miers's top-flight credentials in corporate law are attractive to the CEO-in-chief, who holds an MBA and was himself a businessman before being elected governor in Texas.

Her decades as a high-powered corporate litigator are just the beginning. She also has served on the corporate boards of a securities fund and a mortgage company. She's tackled the entire spectrum of commercial issues firsthand, defending Texas car dealers against price-fixing charges, challenging claims that Microsoft sold defective software, protecting Walt Disney's trademarks, and taking on consumers who sued mortgage companies for violating debt collection laws.

But, for the boardroom set, it's her work outside the courtroom that sets her apart. For years, Miers was a driving force in Texas for reforms that would protect industry from lawsuits. She helped elect reform-minded judges to the state bench, including longtime friend Nathan Hecht, a Texas supreme court justice who is derided by trial lawyers as the father of Texas tort reform....

In this respect, Woellert sees Miers as the ideal successor to Sandra Day O'Connor:

...CEOs mourned the resignation of Sandra Day O'Connor. Legal scholars have scoffed at her philosophical inconsistency, but business execs lauded her practicality and her frequent acknowledgments of real-world situations in opinions that often made their 9-to-5 workday a little easier....

Those who know Miers see her as having a similar bent. "Miers will be in the same class as Sandra Day O'Connor," says Ralph Wayne, president of the Texas Civil Justice League....

A few more pieces like this and maybe more than one puzzle may be solved. Though it's not clear if corporate America is doing any serious lobbying for Miers, we should not forget that the man who nominated her was known for his ties to it before he became president and indeed often that as a crony capitalist in his own career. That very fact could explain conservatives' ongoing frustration with, say, Bush's spending habits. Corporate America isn't necessarily small government America. We needed Miers to be reminded of this?

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