Who Is Harriet Miers?

The president has named White House counsel Harriet Miers his nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. 2005/10/3 AP /APTN

Most of us know who Harriet Miers is. She's the woman President Bush wants to be the next Supreme Court Justice. But how many of us know who she really is?

She's never been a judge, and many people worry about this. How can we tell where she stands on issues? How can we know what kind of judicial reasoning she will use? Is she a maverick or does she like to be part of a consensus? If the other judges order bagels, will she order a doughnut?

Like the president, I believe there are other ways of telling about a potential justice than looking at a judicial record. The most logical thing is that if people aren't sure about her stance on the issues, just ask her.

When she's called before the Senate Committee, all the Senators have to do is ask her how she feels about Roe v. Wade, or the Separation of Church and...Oops! I forgot. When potential justices are asked how they stand on the issues, they don't answer the question. Forget the direct questioning approach.

Let's look at her background. She used to be a Democrat, then she switched and became a Republican. In fact, she gave money to Al Gore's 1988 Presidential campaign. Either her switching parties demonstrates a lack of rigidity and that she's not an ideologue, or it says she's wishy-washy.

She was the head of a law firm that represented such clients as Microsoft, the Walt Disney Company, and SunGard Data Systems, Inc. So, she might be pro-big business. On the other hand, she was president of the Texas Bar Association, so she may be pro-trial lawyer.

Some conservatives and some liberals oppose her nomination. Either this is a good sign, meaning that she doesn't have a blind allegiance to any ideology, or it means she's so bad that neither side likes her.

Her personal biography says that she is "very close to her family." That's nice. But does it really tell us how she feels about the legal issues of the day?

So, how can we find out what Harriet Miers is really like and what kind of Justice she will be? Perhaps to learn what makes Harriet Miers tick, we have to go outside traditional areas of inquiry. Some might suggest numerology. I think you add up the number of letters in her name, then add them together, and that's supposed to mean something. But that sounds a little frivolous for something evaluating a possible Supreme Court Justice.

So, let's turn to astrology. It's not anything I believe in, but millions of people do. And there's a tradition of astrology in politics as anyone who remembers the Reagan administration knows.

Born August 10, 1945, Miers is a Leo. According to the astrology site that I went to, Leos are "generous and warmhearted, creative and enthusiastic, broad-minded and expansive as well as faithful and loving." Sounds pretty nice, but it still doesn't tell us what kind of justice she'd be. However, the possible negative qualities of a Leo are "pompous and patronizing, bossy, dogmatic, and intolerant." Uh-oh.

But don't despair. When I ran her exact birth date on another astrology site, I came up with some very positive things: "You need to put your personal stamp on whatever you do." That seems OK for a Supreme Court Justice. And finally, "You tend to be very good at what you do and critical of others' work if it does not meet your high standards." That might work for a justice.

Another way to get some insight into Miers might be to look at some other Leos. Perhaps her character is similar to theirs. Other Leos include Monica Lewinsky, Martha Stewart, Loni Anderson, and Hulk Hogan. Oh yes, and Bill Clinton.

I guess it boils down to we really don't know that much about Miers. I realize that using astrology to try to find out about her is absurd. But is it any more absurd than simply taking the word of the politicians pushing for her to be the next justice?



Lloyd Garver writes a weekly column for SportsLine.com. He has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver
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