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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

“Miers Backed Race, Sex Set-Asides”



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The Washington Post reports that Miers backed quite stringent affirmative action programs while leading the Texas Bar, including strict numerical targets. According to the Post:

Miers was a believer in mentoring programs, but during her tenure she and the board went further, passing a resolution urging Texas law firms to set a goal of hiring one qualified minority lawyer for every 10 new associates. The board also reiterated support for a policy of setting aside a specific number of seats on the bar’s board of directors for women and minorities.

Although Miers was not the author of either policy, she never objected to them, according to tapes of the meetings, and numerous board members who served with her said she fully supported both efforts.. . . .

Two years before Miers became the president, the state bar had decided to remedy that situation by setting aside four board of directors seats for women and minorities. Those members are appointed by the president but have the same voting privileges as those who ran for office.

The policy, which is still in place today, came up for discussion during Miers’s presidency, board minutes show. The board made minor changes, but kept the preferences intact.

Dunn, Parsons and others said that Miers was strongly supportive of the policy. Parsons said this stance was not especially controversial because the bar’s leadership was in agreement that “something had to be done.”

Walter Sutton, a black lawyer Miers named to one of the four slots during her tenure, said she was “passionate” about the program.

“I know that she supported it without reservation,” said Sutton, who first got to know Miers when she ran for the Dallas City Council in 1989 and went on to serve in the Clinton administration. He is now associate general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “I remember she called me and she was very excited — she said, ‘Walter, this is something you have to do.’ “

The whole story is worth reading . . . including the parts about Gonzales.


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