As previously reported, Harriet Miers — she of the ill-fated Supreme Court nomination* — has submitted her resignation as White House Counsel. It will take effect at the end of this month, on January 31. The search for her replacement has begun.
From White House spokesman Tony Snow:
“Basically, she has been here six years. As somebody said earlier today, ‘She put 12 years of service into six years.’ Harriet is one of the most beloved people here at the White House.”
Indeed, the work ethic of the 61-year-old Miers lies beyond question. At night, her car is typically the last one left in the senior staff parking lot, between the Old Executive Office Building and the West Wing. Her dedication to President Bush is also unimpeachable.
(The New York Times, referring to Miers’s withdrawn SCOTUS nomination, states that “no one doubted her intellect, [but] some doubted her credentials to be a justice.” We disagree with the first proposition. In certain super-snobby quarters of the legal elite, her intellect was definitely questioned — even if few would do so publicly.)
We hear that Miers’s resignation, which she announced at this morning’s White House counsel staff meeting, came as a surprise to much of her staff. There’s also precious little information about her replacement.
* A well-established rule of English usage: With respect to Harriet Miers, the words “Supreme Court nomination” must always be preceded by “ill-fated.”
Additional commentary appears after the jump.
Harriet Miers’s second-in-command is Deputy White House Counsel William K. Kelley. He’s on leave from his faculty post at Notre Dame Law School. But Bill Kelley may need (or want) to return to South Bend soon, so he may not be as likely a pick as a deputy usually would be.
As for what lies ahead for Harriet Miers, her plans haven’t been announced. But we think that she’ll return to her native Texas. It’s possible that she might even get nominated to the Fifth Circuit. There are now two open seats on that court, as previously discussed in these pages, and Miers could probably win confirmation fairly easily.
During the Supreme Court nomination process, many Miers opponents would say things like, “She has no judicial experience. She’s not ready for the Supreme Court. Why not put her on a circuit court first?”
Yeah, why the heck not? President Bush may take them up on that suggestion.
Another reason for Miers to go back to the Lone Star State: her on-again, off-again romance with Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht. If she returns to Texas, she may be able to stir the embers of his passion.
We close with the immortal words of Whitney Houston:
Where do broken hearts go?
Can they find their way home
Back to the open arms
Of a love that’s waiting there?
For the sake of Harriet Miers — who has been through so much over the past few years, who has worked so hard on behalf of the president, and who is probably suffering from burnout — we hope that the answer is YES.
Harriet Miers Plans to Leave White House [New York Times]
Miers Resigns As White House Counsel [Associated Press via Washington Post]
Earlier: Breaking: Harriet Miers Has Resigned As White House Counsel!