RealTime IT News

Miers, Roberts Share Tech History

President Bush's recent picks for the U.S. Supreme Court may come from varied legal backgrounds, but they share at least one common experience involving technology litigation: both have been involved in settling cases against Microsoft .

Harriet Miers, who Bush has called a "pit bull in size six shoes" for her legal tenacity, and was nominated Monday to the nation's highest court, represented the software maker in two important cases in the 1990s.

The former president of the Dallas Bar Association and a member of the Dallas City Council represented Redmond against class-action lawsuits in the 1990s that claimed a version of the company's MS-DOS operating system contained defects.

Miers also helped defend the company against a 1998 patent lawsuit. Microsoft was successful in both cases.

John Roberts, the Harvard-educated Buffalo, N.Y., native who was sworn in Monday as the nation's 17th chief justice, was also involved in an important Microsoft case. However, he sat across the aisle from the software maker.

Chief Justice Roberts was among several lawyers representing the 19 states that teamed with the Department of Justice in its antitrust case against Microsoft.

Roberts argued the government's case during the 2001 appeals court hearing against Microsoft, in which U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled the company be split in two.

He argued Microsoft took advantage of its near monopoly and ultimately suffocated consumers choice. That decision was later overturned.

Microsoft would not comment for this article.