First lady says sexism possible in Miers criticism

First lady Laura Bush joined her husband in defending his second nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday and said it was possible some critics were being sexist in their opposition to Harriet Miers.

"That's possible, I think that's possible," Mrs. Bush said when asked on NBC's "Today Show" whether criticism that Miers lacked intellectual heft were sexist in nature. She said Miers' accomplishments as a lawyer made her a role model to young women.

A week after President George W. Bush nominated Miers for a lifetime appointment to the highest U.S. court, he remained on the defensive against conservative critics within his own Republican Party.

They say Bush missed a chance to pick an experienced judge with clear conservative credentials who would firmly move the nine-member court to the right on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and church-state separation.

"Just because she hasn't served on the bench, doesn't mean that she can't be a great Supreme Court judge," said Bush, whose job approval ratings have sagged below 40 percent for the first time ever in recent polls, reports Reuters.

Meanwhile, some newly released letters show a very warm relationship between Mr. Bush and Miers, his White House counsel and former personal attorney.

Miers told Mr. Bush in a 1997 birthday card that he was "the best governor ever" and, in a separate note to her boss, said she hoped his twin daughters recognize their parents are "cool."

The correspondence with Mr. Bush was among thousands of pages of records released Monday by the Texas state archives from Miers' record as chair of the Texas Lottery Commission from 1995-2000.

A transcript of her confirmation hearing before the state Senate in 1995 indicated that lawmakers asked Miers, an attorney, only a few questions and that her nomination by Mr. Bush was generally unopposed.

Miers and Mr. Bush exchanged several birthday notes and general well-wishes during her lottery tenure.

In 1997, Miers sent him a belated birthday card featuring a sad-looking dog and the note: "Dear Governor GWB, You are the best Governor ever — deserving of great respect!" She added, "At least for thirty days — you are not younger than me," informs CBC.

Photo: the AP P.T.

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