On 27 October 2005, Harriet Ellan Miers withdrew her name from consideration for the U.S. Supreme Court. President George W. Bush
had nominated her earlier that same month to replace retiring justice Sandra Day O'Connor
. A Texan like Bush, Meirs is a lawyer who has held many public-service posts. She obtained her undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University (in 1967 and 1970, respectively) and worked as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Joe E. Estes (1970-72) before going into private practice. In 1985 she served as the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association, and in 1992-93 she served as the first woman president of the Texas State Bar. She also served one term as a member-at-large on the Dallas City Council (elected 1989), and from 1995 to 2000 she chaired the Texas Lottery Commission during Bush's term as governor of Texas. When Bush took office in 2001 Miers became Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary. In 2003 she was named Deputy Chief of Staff and in February of 2005 Miers became Counsel to the President. As the president's lawyer, Miers was an advisor on domestic policy issues and was among the handful of advisors who interviewed potential nominee John Roberts
after the announced retirement of O'Connor and the death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
. Roberts was quickly confirmed as the new Chief Justice, but Miers' own subsequent nomination ran into difficulty; many of Bush's conservative supporters felt Meirs was not conservative enough, and many of Bush's opponents felt she was unqualified. A week before her scheduled Senate confirmation hearings, she withdrew from consideration. Four days later Bush nominated Samuel Alito
for O'Connor's place on the bench.