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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Profile: Harriet Miers
File photograph of Harriet Miers
Harriet Miers is part of the president's inner circle
White House counsel Harriet Miers has been a trusted and loyal adviser to US President George Bush since the 1980s.

The two met in Texas, where she was his personal lawyer, then served on his gubernatorial campaign in 1994 and again during his presidential election of 2000.

Officially described as deputy chief of staff for policy, Harriet Miers, 60, has been serving as President Bush's top legal counsel since November 2004.

At the time of her appointment, Mr Bush said he relied on her for "straightforward advice".

She enjoys a particularly close relationship with the president, and is a regular guest at Camp David.

If confirmed as the president's choice for the Supreme Court vacancy, Ms Miers would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the nation's highest court.

'Dedicated'

Ms Miers has rarely talked to reporters since arriving in Washington in 2001 as part of the president's staff.

She has never served on the bench, which means observers have found it difficult to predict whether her nomination would dramatically move the court to the right.

MIERS' CAREER PATH
1985: First female president of the Dallas Bar Association
1992: First woman to head the Texas State Bar
1995-2000: Chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission
2001: Joins White House staff as president's staff secretary
2003: Appointed Deputy Chief of Staff
2004: Named White House counsel

Before her nomination, White House press secretary Scott McClellan told the Associated Press news agency that Democratic and Republican senators had recommended Miss Miers as a possible nominee.

Friends and colleagues describe the single woman as assertive and ambitious, whilst being discreet and selfless.

"She is defined by hard work, dedication and client loyalty," says Jerry Clements, partner at the Locke Liddell & Sapp firm of lawyer in Texas where she worked before moving to Washington DC.

"She just overcame any obstacles with hard work and dedication," said Mr Clements.

In 1996, Mr Bush called her "a pit bull in size six shoes".

Breaking barriers

Her hard work appears to have paid off - not only in mounting the echelons of power, but also in overcoming gender-based bias.

She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and received her undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University there.

Harriet Miers and President George W Bush in Texas in 2001
Ms Miers has worked with George W Bush for decades

She became the first woman hired by Locke Purnell Boren Laney & Neely - an old Dallas legal firm - and served there for more than 20 years.

In 1985, she became the first female president of the Dallas Bar Association and in 1992 became the first woman to head the Texas State Bar.

In 1995, Mr Bush appointed Ms Miers as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission for a six-year term.

However, she unexpectedly resigned after five years that were marked by controversy and the dismissal of two executive directors of the commission.

Despite the problems, she was praised in local newspapers for "preserving the operations' integrity".


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