DALLAS – A minister asked Harriet Miers' (search) fellow worshippers on Sunday to pray for her as she prepares for public scrutiny and intense political debate over her nomination to the Supreme Court.
The congregation of the Cornerstone Christian Church (search), a group meeting at a Dallas hotel after breaking away from another local church, stood and applauded when the minister noted Miers' presence. She had attended services earlier in the morning at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, where her brother and other family members belong.
Cornerstone Minister Ron Key asked the 150-member congregation at the hotel to understand "the crucible of pressure that Harriet is about to be exposed to" and called on them to pray for her every day. She was not mentioned during the Episcopal service.
Outside the Church of the Incarnation, Miers smiled at reporters but did not stop to answer questions as she walked inside with her brother. When asked by a reporter outside the church if she was surprised by the conservative reaction to her nomination, Miers replied, "Nice to see you."
Several prominent conservatives have criticized President Bush for nominating a person without a strong background in constitutional law and a decidedly conservative view of jurisprudence. Miers has spent most of her career in private practice in Dallas and has served Bush as his personal attorney, White House secretary and counsel.
Other conservatives have hailed her experience and called on like-minded people to trust Bush's judgment that Miers will rule according to the Constitution. They also have pointed to her past pro-life activities in Dallas as a sign of how she might decide abortion cases.
The Senate, which must confirm or reject the nomination, will hold hearings to learn more about her views.
Miers has attended services before at the Church of the Incarnation, which Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, attends. When in Washington, she attends St. John's Episcopal Church (search) near the White House, which Bush also attends.
After the Episcopal service, Miers spoke briefly with longtime friend Molly Steele, whose husband is a priest at the church. "I just said God bless her and everything she's going to be going through for the next few weeks. It's going to be tough," said Steele, who, like Miers, is a former president of the Dallas Bar Association.
For years, Miers was a member of Valley View Christian Church, but she and about 150 of its 1,200 active members left the church to form another congregation, according to Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht (search). A friend of Miers, Hecht also is part of the breakaway group, which decided Sunday to adopt the name Cornerstone Christian Church.
Valley View is part of a movement known as Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. These conservative congregations grew from a reform movement in the 19th century that aimed to break down denominational barriers among Christians.
As a child, Miers attended Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. In 1979, she was baptized at Valley View, and she later taught Sunday school classes there.