Miers to Face Tougher Time Than Roberts in Hearings

by Peter Baker and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, October 9, 2005; Page A01

In a room at the Justice Department this summer, Harriet Miers listened silently as young lawyers playing senators threw question after question at John G. Roberts Jr. at a secret practice hearing, or "murder board." She watched as he rattled off Supreme Court cases and, as one participant put it, "artfully dodged" inquiries he did not want to answer.

Now it's her turn. After an unexpectedly rocky first week, Miers's nomination to the Supreme Court appears likely to hinge on her performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee at hearings that probably will open early next month, according to strategists in both parties.

The question is how much she learned from Roberts's murder boards and how much constitutional law she can master in cramming sessions over the next several weeks.

Unlike Roberts, who made a career arguing before the high court and commands the nuances of obscure rulings, Miers never practiced that sort of law, nor did she, in her various behind-the-scenes roles at the Bush White House, demonstrate the sort of skill at public performance that Senate hearings demand. [...] Read it at the Washington Post web site: http://tinyurl.com/7qq7s

© Virginia Metze


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