Bush Won't Release Miers' Records

White House Counsel Harriet Miers reacts while speaking with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N .Y., during a meeting to discuss her nomination to the Supreme Court Capitol Hill Monday, Oct. 17, 2005. Schumer is member of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings and take the first vote on the nomination. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook) AP

President Bush said Monday that he will not release any White House legal documents written by Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers.

In response to a reporter's question at the end of a cabinet meeting, Mr. Bush said he will not destroy the process of getting candid advice from top aides by disclosing those documents to the Senate. He said that will make it impossible for him and future presidents to make sound decisions, CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller reports.

"That would breech very important confidentiality, and it's a red line I'm not willing to cross," Mr. Bush said.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding more documents on Miers, including from her work as Mr. Bush's counsel.

"People can learn about Harriet Miers through hearings, but we are not going to destroy this business about people being able to walk into the Oval Office to say, Mr. President, this is my advice," Mr. Bush said.

The president did not provide a direct answer when asked by a reporter whether the White House was working on contingency plans to withdraw Miers' nomination in the face of opposition to her from liberals and conservatives. Instead, he said that she is an "extraordinary woman" and that he understands people want to learn more about her.

"Recently, requests, however, have been made by Democrats and Republicans about paperwork out of this White House that would make it impossible for me and other presidents to be able to make sound decisions," Mr. Bush said. "In other words, they've asked for paperwork about the decision- making process, what her recommendations were. And that would breach very important confidentially."

Earlier, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Mr. Bush is committed to sticking with Miers until the Senate vote.

"He's confident that she will be confirmed because as senators come to know her like the president knows her, we're confident that they will recognize she will make an outstanding Supreme Court justice," McClellan said.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hold hearings on her nomination said Sunday that she doesn't have the votes to be confirmed. Republicans countered that Schumer cannot predict how the GOP-controlled Senate will decide Miers' fate.

Many Republicans have yet to commit to approve Mr. Bush's second nominee to the high court, and some outside conservatives have started organized efforts to force the White House to withdraw her name.
  • Joel Roberts

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