In evaluating the nomination of Michael W. McConnell, there is no question that he possesses the intellectual ability and technical legal skills to be a federal judge. People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation have worked closely with, and in some cases against, McConnell on religious liberty issues on several occasions, and we have great respect for his intellect and legal skills. But these important prerequisites are clearly not sufficient for an individual to be confirmed to a lifetime position on the federal appellate bench. No one can seriously question that President Bush and his advisors were influenced by McConnell’s well-known legal philosophy and ideology in nominating him. By the same token, as more than 200 law professors have written to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators should consider whether a nominee has demonstrated an “open mind to decision-making” and a “record of commitment to the progress made on civil rights, women’s rights, and individual liberties.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the President Bush's nomination of Priscilla Owen to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.