Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The White House says President Bush "reluctantly" accepted her decision. In a letter to Mister Bush, released by the White House Thursday, Ms. Miers said she was concerned that controversy over her nomination presented a "burden" to his administration.

That nomination faced increasing criticism in recent weeks, from US Senators on both sides of both major political parties, because of questions about Ms. Miers legal background and opinions.

President Bush vowed to choose a new nominee to fill  the Supreme Court vacancy 'in a timely manner."

He said Ms. Miers' withdrawal of her nomination confirms what he called his "deep respect and admiration" for her.

That nomination has faced mounting criticism ever since Mister Bush announced his choice October 3rd.

There was widespread criticism about her lack of legal credentials, and allegations of cronyism: 

Ms. Miers has served as counsel to the President since February 2005.

In 1985, Ms. Miers became the first woman to be selected president of the Dallas Bar Association, and achieved a similar honor seven years later as President of the Texas State Bar.

She enjoyed a successful career as a trial litigator.  But she never served as a judge, a fact that came under increasing scrutiny after President Bush named her as his choice to fill the vacancy created by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement. 

Justice O'Connor was often the swing vote on many 5-to-4 rulings by the nine-member court concerning various social issues.

In recent days, the White House refused to release documents from Ms. Miers' years as a White House counsel, saying they are protected by executive privilege. The White House suggested that was the source of Ms. Miers' problems with the Senate.

But lawmakers have repeatedly questioned Ms. Miers about her stance on a variety of issues, including abortion.

And both liberal and conservative lawmakers recently asked Ms. Miers to resubmit a questionnaire they asked her to complete, because they were not satisfied with her answers.

Democratic Party Senator Charles Schumer says President Bush should have asked for the Senate's advice before nominating Ms. Miers. "One of the reasons for this problem, this mistake, is that there was no real consultation. There was no real reaching out, and discussion of names back and forth."

President Bush says Ms. Miers will remain in her job as White House counsel.