<!--:es-->Laura Bush says sexism possible in Miers criticism<!--:-->

Laura Bush says sexism possible in Miers criticism

Laura Bush joined her husband in defending his nominee to the U.S. Supreme

COVINGTON, Louisiana – First lady Laura Bush joined her husband in defending his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday and said it was possible some critics were being sexist in their opposition to Harriet Miers.

“That’s possible, I think that’s possible,” Mrs. Bush said when asked on NBC’s “Today Show” whether criticism that Miers lacked intellectual heft were sexist in nature. She said Miers’ accomplishments as a lawyer were a role model to young women.

A week after President George W. Bush nominated Miers for a lifetime appointment to the highest U.S. court, he remained on the defensive against conservative critics within his own Republican Party.

They say Bush missed a chance to pick an experienced judge with clear-cut conservative credentials who would firmly move the court to the right on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and church-state separation.

“Just because she hasn’t served on the bench, doesn’t mean that she can’t be a great Supreme Court judge,” said Bush, whose job approval ratings have sagged below 40 percent for the first time ever in recent polls.

Although some conservatives have supported the nomination, others have suggested Bush withdraw it and submit a new name, an appeal the president rejected last week.

Mrs. Bush, who had publicly supported the nomination of a woman to the high court, noted that Miers had been president of the Texas Bar Association.

“I know Harriet well, I know how accomplished she is, I know how many times she’s broken the glass ceiling herself. She is a role model for young women around our country,” she said.

Some conservatives have also accused Bush of cronyism for nominating a White House insider to the court. They have expressed fears that since not much is known about Miers’ views, she could end up being a liberal along the lines of David Souter, who was put on the court by the president’s father, former President George Bush.

Bush, who was in Louisiana on his eighth trip to check on the recovery from Hurricane Katrina after coming under criticism for the slow federal response to the disaster, said he knows Miers shares his conservative philosophy.

“I’m convinced she won’t change. The person I know is not the kind of person who is going to change her philosophy, and her philosophy is she is not going to legislate from the bench,” he said.

Miers has spent the last few days in her home town of Dallas gathering her written material in order to have it ready for her Senate confirmation hearings.