When I was twelve, I wanted to be a lawyer.
This may not seem so surprising, since I actually am a lawyer. However, after my brief early flirtation with the law, I quickly lost interest in the legal profession, an interest I did not regain until about 6 months after I graduated from college.
But my dad, the son of a lawyer who had himself once planned to go to law school, did his best to encourage my career aspirations. One day when there was no school, he took the day off work. We went downtown to the Dallas Courthouse, where we spent a good hour or so watching the morning docket - mostly plea bargains, that sort of thing. I got to go up to the bench and meet the aptly named Judge Scales.
After our morning in court, we had lunch with a lawyer friend of my dad's - actually, a woman he had dated in college. From what my family tells me, theirs was a fairly serious relationship. Don't know exactly why things didn't work out between them, but according to my grandmother, my father (now deceased) is known to have said that she was "too much woman for him." Or any man, for that matter; as it turns out, she never married.
I don't remember her giving me any great career advice. What do you say to a twelve-year old who wants to be a lawyer? "Don't do it, kid, you'll regret it"? "Stay in school and get good grades"? What I do remember is people stopping her in the hall at the courthouse, asking her questions or just greeting her, and she seemed like a busy person who knew a lot of people. Back then I didn't have words for it, but now I would use words like "important", "powerful", "well-connected", "respected". Busy, but not too busy to have lunch with an old friend and his daughter.
That woman was Harriet Miers.
My father's family, most of whom are Catholic Democrats (as was Ms. Miers, once upon a time), are delighted to know someone who has been nominated to the Supreme Court. They always liked her, and we all have been following her career for years. No "Harriet who?" comments around here. It's probably the only thing that George W. has ever done that they have approved of. The conservative pundits, however, are "disappointed" and "underwhelmed". With a few notable exceptions; Marvin Olasky is blogging both "pro" and "con" - but he has interviewed actual people who actually know Ms. Miers. Texas attorney Beldar is doing a great job of defending and fact-checking (here and here and here and here and here and here). For instance, he points out that the Texas Bar Association is a very different animal from the ABA. Locke, Liddell is a top Texas law firm. And while SMU may not be a "first tier" law school, it is by no means "second rate". It is well-respected both regionally and internationally, and as an SMU law graduate, the wife of an SMU law graduate, and the descendant of an SMU law professor, I will have you remember that. Thank you very much.
"'Every woman lawyer in Dallas, Texas, owes a debt to Harriet Miers,' said Robin P. Hartmann, a partner with the Dallas law firm of Haynes and Boone", quoted in an Associated Press article.
My point exactly.