- July 19 - "Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen's penchant
for judicial activism may have earned her Bush's nomination to the Fifth Circuit,
but it should not win her a seat on the Court of Appeals," said National
Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy. "NOW and other supporters
of a fair court system are calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject
"We've seen Judge Owen
use the courtroom to further her narrow beliefs and ideals, going so far as to
virtually re-write laws rather than fairly interpret them. The last thing the
Fifth Circuit needs is more judges who can't leave their political ideologies
at the door," Gandy said. "For example, Owen supports 'stricter interpretation'
of the Texas law requiring girls younger than 18 to inform their parents before
obtaining an abortion. In every case that came before the Texas Supreme Court
last spring in which a young woman sought a bypass of the parental notification
law, Judge Owen voted against granting the bypass."
"Even White House Counsel
and former fellow Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales referred to Owen's
extremist position in a reproductive rights case as an 'unconscionable act of
judicial activism,'" Gandy said. "Owen has been described as being on
the 'far right wing' of the Texas Court, even more to the right than Bush's own
appointees to that court when he was governor. A judge whose political zealotry
prevents fair application of the law has no place on the federal bench."
"In addition to disdaining
women's rights, Owen has demonstrated a commitment to money over morality,"
Gandy said. "In 1994, Enron endorsed her and contributed $8,600 to her successful
Texas Supreme court bid. Two years later, she wrote the majority opinion that
reduced Enron's school taxes by $15 million, and according to Texans for Public
Justice that court ruled in Enron's favor in five out of six cases. Now a household
name for corruption, Enron contributed more money to Owen than any other corporation."
"Women's rights supporters
across the country will be contacting the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
via phone, fax and e-mail to demand they reject the Priscilla Owen nomination,"
Gandy said. "NOW is keeping tabs on how every Senator votes on judicial nominations--and
their commitment to women's rights will surely be reflected in women's votes."