Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley will sit down this afternoon (3:30 Central) with Harriet Miers, President Bush’s pick to fill the remaining vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Grassley, a Republican, says it’ll be an informal talk with Miers, a woman he’s already dealt with on several occasions through her role as Bush’s chief legal advisor.
Grassley, who is the senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says Miers comes to the Senate for consideration “with very good legal background. Nobody’s gonna’ argue with whether or not she’s a good lawyer, a good legal mind. I think the only thing is that she has a blank slate as far as being a judge. She’s never been a judge.”
While some critics say the nation’s high court is no place for someone to learn the skill of being a good judge, Grassley says Miers’ lack of experience shouldn’t be a deciding factor. He says in the last 20 years, everyone who’s on the Supreme Court now had previous judicial experience, but over the history of 109 Supreme Court justices over 200 years, you’d find that 41 of them had never been judges.
Grassley says Miers “is an experienced lawyer and has been a trailblazer for women throughout her legal career.” He’s not concerned she hasn’t before served on the bench. Grassley says “A lot of people…would say having experience as somebody who practiced law as opposed to judging law brings a new breath of fresh air to the Supreme Court. We see it as a good thing, not as a bad thing.”
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, opposed Bush’s nomination of John Roberts as the court’s chief justice. Harkin says he is interested in learning if Miers “possesses a strong commitment to protecting the most fundamental rights of all Americans, including the 54-million Americans with disabilities.” Harkin was one of the chief architects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Harkin says “I look forward to meeting Ms. Miers and learning more about her legal history and judicial philosophy.”