Bush lawyer Harriet Miers resigns - White House

WASHINGTON Thu Jan 4, 2007 5:51pm GMT

White House counsel Harriet Miers listens as White House political adviser Karl Rove speaks to the Federalist Society at their annual dinner in Washington, DC November 10, 2005. Miers, whose controversial nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court was withdrawn, has resigned effective January 31, the White House said on Thursday. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

White House counsel Harriet Miers listens as White House political adviser Karl Rove speaks to the Federalist Society at their annual dinner in Washington, DC November 10, 2005. Miers, whose controversial nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court was withdrawn, has resigned effective January 31, the White House said on Thursday.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House counsel Harriet Miers, whose controversial nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court was withdrawn, announced her resignation on Thursday effective at the end of the month.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said President George W. Bush had reluctantly accepted the resignation of his long-time aide after six years at the White House, including almost two years as his top lawyer.

"She put 12 years of service into six years," said Snow.

A Texan, Miers, 61, was part of the core group of loyal aides that Bush brought with him to Washington from his home state in early 2001.

"It is hard to leave the tasks at hand," Miers said in a resignation letter to the president. "They are gravely important, and I shall miss greatly the arena in which the battles of our time are being fought."

Bush nominated Miers to fill an opening on the Supreme Court in October 2005, but many of Bush's conservative allies questioned her lack of judicial experience and her independence, forcing her to withdraw her name from consideration less than a month later.

Bush ultimately filled the position with Samuel Alito, who gained Senate confirmation for the job and is currently sitting on the high court.

Snow said a search was under way for a replacement for Miers.

He said Miers had been discussing leaving with White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for some time.

"And the two of them agreed ... that it was time for a change in the office of legal counsel, but Harriet is one of the most beloved people here at the White House," he said.

The extremely loyal Miers included gushing praise for the president in her resignation letter.

"I leave the White House with immense appreciation for your leadership of our country in the most trying of times," she wrote.

Miers' future plans were unclear. Before joining the Bush administration, Miers was a lawyer in private practice for 27 years in Dallas. She handled business cases and acted as then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush's personal lawyer.

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria)

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