I don't know anything about Harriet Miers, and I am a Democrat who disagrees with most of what this administration has done and stands for, but the charge of cronyism, by itself, without facts on her qualifications, is hollow ["White House Counsel Miers Chosen for Court; Some Question Her Lack of Experience as a Judge," front page, Oct. 4].

Hugo L. Black, who had no judicial experience, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his youth and helped Franklin D. Roosevelt carry the South. The crony of all cronies, Robert H. Jackson, was a political pal of Roosevelt's from New York and a White House insider who fished, drank and played poker with the president and was his solicitor general and attorney general. He crafted legal support for things that Roosevelt wanted, such as the Lend-Lease Act, and he had no judicial experience.

The list of other justices who had no prior judicial experience is long. It includes Louis Brandeis, William O. Douglas and Earl Warren, to name a few.




If the president of some less-developed country attempted to place his personal counsel on the supreme court, he would be widely criticized.

Our Constitution is predicated on the concept of separation of powers. Regardless of Harriet Miers's intelligence or demeanor, President Bush's nomination of his White House counsel and former personal attorney is an assault on our system of government. If she is confirmed by the Senate, she should be ethically obliged to recuse herself from any case in which the administration played a role (including the application of any legislation the president has signed into law).

While having no experience as a judge alone should not disqualify her, the country is entitled to someone more appropriate.


Chevy Chase