Owen Rejected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2002

Contact: Nathan Richter at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Senate Judiciary Committee sends clear message to President Bush: right-wing judicial activists will not be confirmed

The Senate Judiciary Committee today rejected President George W. Bush’s nomination of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Owen’s record is that of a judge who has spent her career trying to make law rather than abide by her obligation to interpret it,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “Her own colleagues on the conservative Texas Supreme Court, including those appointed by then-Governor George Bush, have often criticized her attempts to rewrite the law in a way that would severely damage the rights of ordinary Americans. She owes her defeat to her record and a willingness to ignore the law in pursuit of a right-wing ideological agenda.”

Owen’s confirmation was opposed by a broad range of state and national organizations that criticized her record on workers’ rights, reproductive choice, and the environment. “There is no doubt that a majority of the senators on the Judiciary Committee carefully considered her record and the criticisms of her own colleagues on the Texas Supreme Court, in their decision not to confirm Owen,” said Neas.

Owen’s rejection comes at a time of increasingly heated rhetoric from pundits and politicians over the Senate’s role in the judicial confirmation process. “The Senate’s role in the judicial confirmation process is not to rubber-stamp the president’s nominees,” said Neas. “In exercising the duties given them by the Constitution, a majority of the senators on the Judiciary Committee reminded President Bush that federal court nominees who have not demonstrated a commitment to protect the rights of ordinary citizens will be rejected.”