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On Wednesday, 13 former Dallas Bar Association presidents and the organization’s current president Tim W. Mountz stood shoulder to shoulder in a conference room at the Belo Mansion, the DBA’s downtown headquarters. The group had called the press conference to lend their support to President George W. Bush’s controversial nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to become a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Progress for America, a Washington, D.C., conservative fund-raising group, arranged for and partially paid for the logistics of the DBA presidents’ press event, Mountz said. Mountz and the former DBA presidents presented a letter that 20 of them had drafted; the letter was faxed to the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsing Miers’ nomination. Miers served as the first woman president of the DBA in 1985, and was elected as the first woman president of the State Bar of Texas in 1991. “We’re here as individuals not on behalf of the Dallas Bar Association,” Mountz, a partner in the Dallas office of Baker Botts, told reporters. “People here are people who know Harriet Miers very well … . We are from different backgrounds, beliefs and affiliations. But we all know her well and we all support her nomination to the Supreme Court.” Darrell E. Jordan, a DBA president in 1982 and State Bar president in 1990, told reporters that he had known Miers for 30 years. Jordan called her an “exceptional and outstanding” lawyer and said he couldn’t imagine a laudatory adjective that wouldn’t apply to Miers. Jordan said he plans to fly to Washington, D.C., on Friday with past State Bar presidents to again publicly endorse Miers’ nomination. He said Progress for America was also helping arrange the former State Bar presidents’ trip to the nation’s capital. Jordan, managing partner of the Dallas office of Godwin Gruber, said he and the other former State Bar presidents will hold press conferences with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and with U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. Gonzales and Cornyn both are former Texas Supreme Court justices. As a group, some 20 former State Bar of Texas presidents also have drafted a letter to the Judiciary Committee endorsing Miers. “Maybe we’ll change some votes,” said Jordan about his D.C. trip. At the Wednesday press conference, a reporter asked the past and present DBA presidents to respond to Robert Bork’s Oct. 19 column on the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal. Bork, co-chairman of the Federalist Society and a fellow at the Hudson Institute, a D.C. think tank, wrote: “The administration’s defense of the nomination is pathetic: Ms. Miers was a bar association president (a nonqualification for anyone familiar with the bureaucratic service that leads to such presidencies)… .” “That doesn’t reflect our tradition here,” responded Mountz. Jordan pointed out that Bork was himself a failed Supreme Court nominee, having been rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee when then-President Ronald Reagan submitted his name to serve on the highest court in the land.

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