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BREAKING NEWS ~ Miers withdraws Supreme Court nomination

[JURIST] AP is reporting that US Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers [JURIST news archive] has withdrawn her nomination.

9:15 AM ET - In a letter [PDF] to President Bush Thursday, Miers withdrew her nomination [JURIST report], expressing concern that the confirmation process would present "a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country." Citing a need to protect the independence of the Executive Branch [Findlaw executive privilege backgrounder], Miers also said that efforts to obtain documents during her service in the White House [JURIST report] as legal counsel to the President contributed to her decision to withdraw. The White House on Monday refused to release any records of White House conversations [JURIST report] between Miers and President Bush. Bush Thursday reluctantly accepted Miers' withdrawal [White House statement], saying "It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House - disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel. Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers - and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her." Bush said that he would fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, created when Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement [JURIST report] in July, "in a timely manner." O'Connor's retirement will not become effective until her successor is nominated and confirmed. Miers' withdrawal follows suggestions of cronyism [WSJ op-ed] in her nomination, criticism of her ideological credentials by conservative groups [JURIST report], Senators' frustration at her limited answers to written questions [JURIST report], and rarely-expressed reservations [JURIST report] from GOP legal staff on the US Senate Judiciary Committee. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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