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Gay rights groups
prepare for next high court nominee

Gay rights groups
prepare for next high court nominee


Harriet Miers withdrew her name as a nominee for Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

Harriet Miers withdrew her name as a nominee for Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications. Meanwhile, national gay rights groups began preparing for the next nominee. "This was an extremist veto of Miers's nomination," said Joe Solmonese, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. "Her withdrawal today demonstrates that the president is beholden to extremist groups rather than to the American people." Solmonese added, "There is still time to listen to the American people while selecting a nominee. We urge the president to find a nominee who shares the values of the American people. We join Republicans and Democrats alike in calling on President Bush to nominate a justice who will keep the court balanced." Lambda Legal education and public affairs director Michael Adams said, "Harriet Miers faced right-wing criticism on social issues. But what made her especially vulnerable was not principally that but was the combination of her lack of judicial experience and her extraordinarily close connection to President Bush, which led to the repeated suggestions that she was nominated based on cronyism rather than her qualifications. Would she have been an independent and effective jurist?... We'll never know. We look forward to a serious vetting of the next nominee. Whoever the nominee is, we will continue to develop tough questions and seek answers to the core issues of equality and fairness for LGBT people and those affected by HIV." President Bush said he reluctantly accepted Miers's decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the Administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege. "It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House--disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers's decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her." Miers's surprise withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was awaiting news on another front--the possible indictment of senior White House aides in the CIA leak case. Miers notified Bush of her decision at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to a senior White House official, who said the president will move quickly to find a new nominee. In her letter, dated Thursday, Miers said she was concerned that the confirmation process "would create a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country." She noted that members of the Senate had indicated their intention to seek documents about her service in the White House in order to judge whether to support her nomination to the Supreme Court. "I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy," she wrote. "While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue." Miers's nomination has been under withering criticism ever since Bush announced her selection on October 3. There were widespread complaints about her lack of legal credentials, doubts about her ability, and assertions of cronyism because of her longtime association with Bush. (AP,

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