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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

A Hinterlands Testimonial



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Down in these parts of Virginia, the major newspaper is the Roanoke Times, which today carries a column by one of its regulars, Shanna Flowers, who has interviewed a local acquaintance of Harriet Miers. He is William Rakes, partner in a Roanoke law firm and former president of the Virginia bar. In that capacity he came to know Harriet Miers, who was president of the Texas bar at the same time. Later the two served together in the ABA House of Delegates, and on a committee that Miers chaired. It was there that “Rakes saw Miers’ propensity to be ‘a strict constructionist,’” Flowers writes:

For instance, he said, if a dispute came up, some committee members would look to the desired outcome. But Miers would look first to the ABA’s constitution, bylaws and rules of procedure.

She was, Rakes said, “a by-the-rules sort of person.”


Flowers says that she “didn’t sense that he was advocating for her confirmation but merely sharing his insights” about Miers. Still, he had only positive things to say, predicting that she will weather her hearings just fine.

By the rules. Strict constructionist. Apparently not results-oriented. These are good things to hear, as far as they go. That isn’t very far, unfortunately. But when the information pickings are so slim, every old bone becomes a feast.



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