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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
US press probe Supreme Court pick
Harriet Miers and President George Bush
Lawyer Harriet Miers has been a longstanding aide to George Bush
News that President Bush has chosen a close aide with no experience of being a judge for a key Supreme Court vacancy has provoked questions from many US newspapers.

White House counsel Harriet Miers is a long-time confidante of the president and is described as a trailblazer for women, who has held a variety of impressive posts.

Politicians from both sides of the political divide are concerned about a candidate with no public profile, whose views are unknown on the contentious issues that the court deals with, like abortion and gay rights.

She is a "Supreme mystery" for the San Francisco Chronicle.

"All Americans deserve to know much more about Harriet Miers and her judicial philosophy before senators vote on whether to support her confirmation to the Supreme Court," it says.

He has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight
New York Times

The Washington Post seeks to dispel the surprise.

"Miers was hardly the only one surprised, but perhaps neither she nor the rest of Washington should have been," Peter Baker writes.

"Throughout his career in public life, President Bush has frequently turned to his inner circle for critical appointments, relying on personal judgment and favouring loyalists over the most sterling resumes of better-known outsiders," he argues.

'Weakened White House'

The Los Angeles Times also aims to explain what it deems a "mysterious choice".

"A weakened White House clearly sees Miers as a safe choice," the paper writes.

However, the LA Times wonders whether her nomination will improve the president's political position as some of Mr Bush's supporters have expressed concern at her lack of conservative credentials.

For the New York Times, President Bush's choice revealed "that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight".

Richard Stevenson finds Mr Bush's pick both "obvious" and "much harder to explain", given "the criticism that he is prone to stocking the government with cronies".

However, the paper notes the president has "always taken delight in surrounding himself with strong women".

The Dallas Morning News comes to the same conclusion.

"Soft-spoken, stalwart" Ms Miers is being recognised for her "poise" and "toughness" in a "male-dominated field," Joyce Saenz Harris writes.

"Her hometown knows her as a battle-ready legal eagle," the paper says.

President Bush on why he chose Harriet Miers for the position

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