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IN THE NEWS - Conservatives, Liberals Criticize Bush's Choice for Court

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I'm Steve Ember with IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has been visiting senators this week to press her case for confirmation. On Monday, President Bush nominated Miz Miers to the court to fill a place created by the resignation of Sandra Day O'Connor.

The president says Miz Miers is the best person for the job. She is serving now as his lawyer, the White House counsel.

Some liberals and conservatives have criticized President Bush for nominating her. They note that she has never served as a judge. For this reason, there are no rulings to show what her opinions might be on issues.

President Bush and Harriet Miers
President Bush and Harriet Miers

Some say this could make her a poor choice for the job. For example, Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has said that he does not have enough information about her. He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee will vote on her nomination before sending it to the full Senate for a final vote.

Some conservatives say she does not seem conservative enough to change the direction of the court, as President Bush had promised. Some liberals say they fear she will vote what they consider the wrong way on issues such as a woman's right to end a pregnancy.

Miz Miers is sixty years old. She is from Texas. She received her bachelor's and law degrees from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Miz Miers has received high praise as a lawyer. She was the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association. Later she became the first woman president of the Texas State Bar Association. The National Law Journal has named her among the one hundred most powerful lawyers in the nation, and the top fifty women lawyers.

Dallas voters elected her to a two-year term on the City Council.

Some critics say her loyalty to the president could present a conflict of interest on future court decisions. Harriet Miers worked for Mister Bush when he was elected governor of Texas. She joined the White House in two thousand one as an assistant to the president. She has served as his personal lawyer since February.

The Supreme Court opened its term on Monday. That happened just one hour after John Roberts was sworn in as chief justice of the United States. Mister Roberts follows William Rehnquist who died of cancer in September.

John Roberts was the president's first choice for the Supreme Court seat left open when Miz O'Connor resigned. But when Mister Rehnquist died, President Bush nominated Mister Roberts for chief justice.

This week, the court heard arguments about cases including one about the rights of the dying. The Bush administration wants to punish doctors in the state of Oregon who help patients end their lives. This assistance is currently legal under state law. Miz O'Connor heard the case argued. She has offered to stay on the court until her replacement is confirmed.

IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English was written by Nancy Steinbach and Jerilyn Watson. I'm Steve Ember.

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