Judicial U-turn for Miers.
Harriet Miers, George Bush's controversial choice for the Supreme Court, has withdrawn her nomination.
The abrupt turnaround will be considered a major embarrassment to the White House but was met with little surprise by political observers.
Her nomination caused a revolt in Congress.
Ms Miers met stiff opposition from all sides of the political spectrum and faced mounting criticism about her qualifications.
In a letter to the President she admitted she was concerned that the nomination presented a "burden" to the White House and was not in the best interests of the country.
Mr Bush "reluctantly" accepted the decision in a brief statement.
He said: "It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House, disclosures that would undermine a President's ability to receive candid counsel."
Ms Miers has never been a judge and had little experience in the appeal courts.
She works as the President's personal lawyer and little was known about her views, most importantly on the landmark Roe vs Wade ruling concerning a woman's right to abortion.
Ms Miers, aged 60, cited a need to keep internal White House records confidential asthe main reason for her withdrawal.
"I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy," she wrote.
"While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information willcontinue." Members of the judicial committee whose job was to assessing her nomination had demanded to see the documents which Mr Bush had urged her to keep private.
Senate majority leader Bill Frist said he respected the decision and appreciated Ms Miers' service.
"I look forward with anticipation to the president naming the next nominee quickly," he said.
Mr Bush spent three weeks insisting that he did not want Ms Miers to step down, despite vigorous debate.
The Wall Street Journal had described her selection as "a political blunder of the first order".
The campaign to force her withdrawal had rapidly gathered pace, with conservatives sceptical that she had the credentials to move the nine-member court sufficiently to the right.
The President said he would move in a timely manner to fill the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
It is believed Ms Miers will continue to serve as White House counsel.
The news of the withdrawal comes at a critical time for Mr Bush.
Washington is on tenterhooks as it awaits potentially devastating news from the special prosecutor investigating the leak of a CIA agent's identity.
Senior White House aides face possible indictment over the scandal
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Oct 28, 2005|
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