Death By Detail (Miers and Her Forms)

In and of itself it’s more a technical error than a smoking gun, but in context this seems part of a pattern of carelessness:

Page A-26: Can you believe it? … unidentified low-level sources have revealed to Page A-26 that Harriet Miers did not provide a complete work history in her Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.

Sources indicate that Ms. Miers failed to mention her tenure as a member of the Martindale-Hubbell/Lexis-Nexis Legal Advisory Board.

I understand how a busy person might honestly forget even something fairly substantial such as a Board membership. I remember how much trouble I had documenting my life when I had to apply for a security clearance, and I was only 28 at the time. But that is why any well-organized person keeps their c.v. up to date — it’s a way to make sure you have a record of everything you’ve done should you ever need one. I try to update mine at least once a year. (Hmm… looks like it’s time to update it again….)

Given that one of the major talking points for Miers has been how ‘meticulous’ she is, the drip drip drip of sloppy mistakes that might well be ignored for a different nominee will in this case continue to erode her rapidly shrinking prospects.

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6 Responses to Death By Detail (Miers and Her Forms)

  1. Sid the Fish says:

    It could all be relative. Compared to the rest of the Administration, which is generally sloppy with regard to everything that is not purely political, she may be very detail oriented and may indeed be the most detail-oriented person in the WH.

    Trouble is, her work habits are now being compared to top-flight lawyers and judges, where the comparison isn’t so kind.

    (This is why, despite having a mind and temperament ideally suited to the legal profession, I chose not to go to law school. I am just not that detail-oriented and would fail miserably on that score…)

  2. Jim says:

    It’s easy enough to identify substantial reasons to conclude that Miers is totally unqualified for the Supreme Court, but this one is not a big deal. A publisher’s “Advisory Board” is window dressing intended to suggest that the publisher is responsive to its customers. I was on a legal publisher’s advisory board at one time; I got a free dinner “meeting” with the other board and a thermos with the publisher’s logo on it, and the board was never heard from again. You might as well expect someone to list their membership in the National Geographic Society on a c.v.

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  4. Boelf says:

    Its not like she’s applying for a job at McDonalds. She didn’t walk into the Supreme court hiring office, get an application from the receptionist then repair to the waiting room to fill it out to the best of her recollection. She was apparently on the short list of candidates. Surely before she got on that list at all she would have been thoroughly vetted. Surely there is a team shepherding her application.

    So its not a matter of her memory. So what is it?

  5. dilbert dogbert says:

    At age 15 I had to apply for a security clearance to work at Travis AFB as a grunt laborer. That ment I had to list all my residences since 1937. My mom and I worked it out at about 26 residences. She remembered all the addresses!!! I was two years old in 1937. I think I still have the scratch paper that we worked on to develop the list. Ah! for the good old days. I would be hard pressed to remember the addresses of all my residences since I graduated from college. Jobs I could do a good job on.
    Where are all the inditments! enquiring minds must know!

  6. Tracy says:

    Here’s a link to Miers’s completed questionnaire on the Washington Post site.
    The questions could be much better worded, but she has decided to assume that the senate committee prefers less rather than more information. They ask about appellate cases and ask if she participated in oral argument, so she assumes she is being asked to state the cases in which she had participated in oral argument. Because of this assumption, she fails to list many more appellate cases in which she was involved. Besides her mistake, as reported in newspapers, in stating that the constitution requires proportional representation , she mis-cites the first case she cites –“Jones v. Bush, 244 F.3d 144 (5th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1062 (2001). ” It’s a typo (as I recall, the page number is 134 rather than 144) and the case can be found easily by working backwards from the U.S. Reporter citation, but it illustrates the lack of care and/or haste with which this questionnaire was put together. Numerous times, she writes that dates and contact informatIon are unavailable. I bet Roberts had a whole department at his former law firm solely devoted to searching out all the information he needed, and I bet there was a White House team devoted to vetting his questionnaire. In Miers’s case, it looks like she’s being hung out to dry; she just doesn’t have the help she needs. In any event, her nomination is offensive because Bush seems to have named her simply as a matter of personal prerogative. He still doesn’t understand the office he holds.
    Here are a couple of questions from her questionnaire:

    d. State the number of cases in courts of record you tried to verdict or judgment (rather than settled), indicating whether you were sole counsel, chief counsel, or associate counsel. For any appellate cases, state whether you made oral arguments, and supply four (4) copies of any briefs that were filed for those cases.

    i. What percentage of these trials were: 1. jury; 2. non-jury.

    While it is difficult to approximate these percentages, I have identified eight cases that were tried to verdict. I was lead counsel or sole counsel in four, lead local counsel in one, and associate counsel in three.

    I recall arguing the following appellate cases: Jones v. Bush, 244 F.3d 144 (5th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1062 (2001); Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Esprit Finance, Inc., 981 S.W.2d 25 (Tex.App.-San Antonio, 1998); Microsoft Corp. v. Manning, 914 S.W.2d 602 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 1995); Thanksgiving Tower Partners, et al. v. Anros Thanksgiving Partners, 64 F.3d 227 (5th Cir. 1995); Perry v. Stewart Title Co., 756 F.2d 1197 (5th Cir. 1985); In re Grand Jury Proceedings, Misc. No. 1331, 712 F.2d 973 (5th Cir. 1983); Southwest Securities, Inc. v. Sungard Data Systems, Inc., 2000 WL 1196338 (Tex.App.-Dallas 2000). I may have argued at the appellate level in other cases that I cannot recall and for which I have no records.


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