Owen's Second Hearing Reconfirms Clear and
Compelling Case Against Confirmation
- March 25 - A second hearing on March 13 on the nomination of
Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Circuit provided no new information contradicting
the clear record of her right-wing judicial activism, which led
the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject her confirmation last
year after an in-depth hearing. President Bush's renomination
of Owen to the same appeals court for which she had already been
rejected by the Judiciary Committee was unprecedented. A new report
by People For the American Way reviews and refutes the recent
attempts by Owen and Sen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch
to explain away her disturbing record as a state court judge.
Owen's record won't change, no matter how many hearings Sen. Hatch
holds, or how many softball questions he lobs in her direction,"
said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. "Even
before this most recent hearing, the record was clear that Owen
is a far-right judicial activist who tries to remake the law to
reach an outcome that is often hostile to the rights and interests
of individuals. The hearing did nothing to change that record.
Senators should reject this unprecedented effort to force Owen
onto the appeals court."
For the American Way report examines efforts by Sen. Hatch and
his colleagues to help Owen dismiss the frequent and vigorous
criticism of her attempted judicial activism by other Texas Supreme
Court justices, including conservatives appointed by then-Gov.
George W. Bush. In particular, the report cites the written opinions
of then-Justice Alberto Gonzales, as well as more recent public
statements by and on behalf of Gonzales, to debunk claims by Owen
and Hatch that Gonzales had never criticized her as an activist.
The People For the American Way report also refutes claims by
Owen that some of her judicial activism was grounded in decisions
by the Supreme Court or other federal courts.
"If Sen. Hatch
and Justice Owen want to rewrite history, they might want to pick
a topic where the historical record is not so clear," said Neas.
"Even Justice Owen's conservative colleagues have repeatedly criticized
her attempted judicial activism on reproductive rights as well
as civil rights and consumer protection. The efforts by Sen. Hatch
and his colleagues to downplay such criticisms have no support
in the record."
is opposed by a broad range of state and national organizations,
including more than two dozen Texas groups that had called on
President Bush not to renominate Owen, explaining that her opinions
have been "extreme and often directly at odds with established
rights and protections enjoyed by all Texans."
People For the American Way report on Priscilla Owen is available
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