President Bush said Monday that he will not release any records of his conversations with Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers that could threaten the confidentiality of the advice that presidents get from their lawyers.
"It's a red line I'm not willing to cross," Bush said.
Both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding more documents on Miers, including from her work at Bush's counsel.
"People can learn about Harriet Miers through hearings, but we are not going to destroy this business about people being able to walk into the Oval Office to say, Mr. President, this is my advice," Bush said after a meeting with his Cabinet.
Ok, Mr. Preznit, we'll walk this past you real s-l-o-w. If you want to preserve the confidentiality of the discussions you have with your counsel, we'll back you up on that, withhin normal limits. (For example, the privilege should not extend to communications "made for the purpose of getting advice for the commission of a fraud or crime". But I can't imagine that you would need to worry about that.)
And if you want to get Harriet Miers onto the Supreme Court -- well, I'm still a bit skeptical, but I'll support your demand that she be given a fair hearing. That's your privilege.
But here's the thing. You can't have both. Vetting nominees to the Supreme Court is an essential, Constitutionally mandated process. The Senate needs to see her work product in order to do their job -- especially since in Harriet's case they have nothing else to go on.
I know you have made a living ignoring the rules, sir. You've had a helluva life claiming your own special privilege. But that dog just won't hunt anymore.
So the answer is so simple, Mr. Preznit. If you want to preserve the attorney-client privilege, don't nominate your lawyer to the Supreme Court.
Thanks for listening. And say "hi" to Pat Fitzgerald for me.