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Harriet Miers Resigns as White House Counsel

Her last day is January 31st. According to this AP report, the President accepted the resignation "reluctantly."

Tony Snow's explanation on why she's leaving:

"Basically, she has been here six years."

That's it?

Update: Tony Snow is now talking to the White House Press Corps. Ms. Miers said that it was just time to move on. There's no successor in place yet but she wants to stay in the position until the end of the month to make sure the transition goes smoothly.


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Comments (14)

It's the old adage..Rats fl... (Below threshold)
joseph:

It's the old adage..Rats fleeing a sinking ship....just wait

...Rats fleeing a ... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:
...Rats fleeing a sinking ship...

As opposed to the DemoRats who remain on their fetid ship, i.e. Conyers, Kennedy, Byrd, Jefferson, et al?

How many staff members stay... (Below threshold)

How many staff members stay for two full terms with any president?

Thank goodness this pea bra... (Below threshold)
doom sayer:

Thank goodness this pea brain was bounced as a supreme court justice.

of course pea brains are all the bush administration ever could find. evil pea brains at that.

miers is just another example of how leadership has completely failed this country over the past 6 years.

failed us morally, legally, and fiscally.

maybe they should illegally wire tap this pinhead. lets open her mail too. most that is she probably is capable of sending is a card saying that bush is the best ever. ooooooh

Actually, My daughter knows... (Below threshold)
RickC:

Actually, My daughter knows Miers professionally from both Houston and Austin. She has a great deal of respect for Miers and her abilities. Since, I have a great deal of respect for my daughter, I sincerely doubt Miers is a "peabrain". In fact, such an idiotic comment says more about the writer than it does about Miers.

Rick

sure thing Rick - i guess h... (Below threshold)
doom sayer:

sure thing Rick - i guess her exposure in the national limelight was just a mistake.

Besides - I said evil pea-brain.

just like the rest of bush's cabal of amoral, greedy, hubris-filled war criminals

It'd take a pea-brain to co... (Below threshold)
Listkeeper:

It'd take a pea-brain to come up with comments like doom sayer's

I wonder where Harriet Myer... (Below threshold)
Reality:

I wonder where Harriet Myers stood on the pResident's recent signing statement, which asserts that the pResident has the right to open any piece of mail that is sent in the US? Especially since that contradicts the law he just signed?

Hey reality - You ... (Below threshold)
Actual:

Hey reality -

You got a link to or quote of that signing statement??

Kthnxby

Miers is jumping ship becau... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

Miers is jumping ship because the last two years of Bush's lame-duck presidency are going to be a nightmare for the White House Counsel. Imagine spending all of your time dealing with subpoeanas, request for information and criminal indictments.

Bush's agenda for the next two years is going to be keeping his people out of jail and playing out the clock on Iraq so he can escape back to Crawford and blame the disasters he's created on his successor.

Actual, do your own researc... (Below threshold)
Reality:

Actual, do your own research. The admins embargoed my link.

wonder where Harriet My... (Below threshold)
jAmes cLoninger:

wonder where Harriet Myers stood on the pResident's...

oH gAg me wIth a sPoon.

This might shed some light ... (Below threshold)
DBrooks:

This might shed some light on Reality's rather obtuse reference to Postal Regulations:

What lies behind Reality's asinine comment is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which Congress enacted late last year. For the most part, it deals with routine matters relating to the postal service. But Section 1010(e) of the Act included this paragraph; there was nothing like it in the previous version of the statute:

c) The Postal Service shall maintain one or more classes of mail for the transmission of letters sealed against inspection. The rate for each such class shall be uniform throughout the United States, its territories, and possessions. One such class shall provide for the most expeditious handling and transportation afforded mail matter by the Postal Service. No letter of such a class of domestic origin shall be opened except under authority of a search warrant authorized by law, or by an officer or employee of the Postal Service for the sole purpose of determining an address at which the letter can be delivered, or pursuant to the authorization of the addressee.

President Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act last month; as he often does, he released a signing statement that described how the executive branch would construe several sections of the act. The signing statement included this paragraph:

The executive branch shall construe subsection 404 c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.

This is what Reality claims is an assertion of sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail. In fact, under pre-existing law, a search warrant was normally required to open first class mail (but not other forms of mail). However, many exceptions to the requirement of a search warrant have been recognized. The Fourth Amendment does not require a warrant in all cases; it requires that all searches be "reasonable."

One broad category of exception to the requirement of a warrant is "exigent circumstances." Generally speaking, if there are exigent circumstances (e.g., a danger that evidence is about to be destroyed), a warrant is not required. Thus, to construe the act as permitting warrantless searches in cases of exigent circumstances such as the possible presence of hazardous materials, means that in this regard, the act did not make any change in pre-existing law.

Likewise with the President's second qualification. Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, warrantless physical searches are authorized in some circumstances. Thus, the President's signing statement means that he does not construe the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act as changing these provisions of FISA.

So what President Bush is saying is that he understands that law enforcement authorities have exactly the same power to open first class mail that the had prior to the enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, at least with respect to exigent circumstances and FISA-authorized searches.

The interesting question is whether Congress really did intend to limit the power of law enforcement agencies to open mail under these circumstances. This comment by Henry Waxman suggests that it may have:

"Despite the President's statement that he may be able to circumvent a basic privacy protection, the new postal law continues to prohibit the government from snooping into people's mail without a warrant," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the incoming House Government Reform Committee chairman, who co-sponsored the bill.

Note the contradiction in Waxman's statement: he says that the new law "continues" to prohibit warrantless examination of mail, but in fact, there was no such provision in the prior version of Section 404 of the statute, and the new language in Section 404 does not accurately state the law as it existed prior to the statute's enactment.

Is Waxman really saying that the intent of Congress is that mail can never be opened without a warrant, even, for example, if there is good reason to think it contains anthrax? If so, there is an interesting story here. News: If President Bush is wrong, and the 2006 statute did effect a change in pre-existing law, then Congress cut back on the ability of law enforcement agencies to protect the public in circumstances of extreme danger.

All of this may have little practical significance. "Exigent circumstances" presumably will arise rarely in the context of a piece of first class mail, and it is hard to see how the circumstances under which FISA authorizes warrantless physical searches could ever apply. So whether President Bush has construed Congress' intent rightly or wrongly may be of little consequence. In any event, this law doesn't represent an assertion of new executive powers.

OMG, teh stupid on this sit... (Below threshold)
Reality:

OMG, teh stupid on this site from wingnuts, it burns.




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