Civil Rights Coalition Praises the Senate for Stopping the Confirmation of Priscilla Owen

Media 05.1.03

WASHINGTON – Citing her extremist record, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, today praised the Senate for stopping the confirmation of Priscilla Owen to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by voting “no” on cloture.

“After an exhaustive and careful review of Priscilla Owen’s record on the Texas Supreme Court, LCCR is left with no alternative but to oppose her confirmation because of her activist and extreme views on important civil rights, worker’s rights, consumer’s rights, and women’s rights issues,” said Wade Henderson, executive director of LCCR.

“President Bush has said he will nominate judges who will interpret the law, not make it,” continued Henderson. “Based on her record on the Texas Supreme Court, Priscilla Owen does not satisfy the President’s own standard.”

“Time and again, Owen has demonstrated that she is a judicial activist with a disturbing willingness to effectively rewrite or disregard the law in order to advance her own political agenda,” said Henderson. “In one case, she effectively tried to re-write a key Texas civil rights law to make it much more difficult for employees to prove a violation of their rights.”

“Owen’s activism is of serious concern to us and has been of concern to her colleagues on the Texas Supreme Court,” continued Henderson. “Even President Bush’s own White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales, when he was a fellow Justice on the Texas Supreme Court, characterized the actions of Owen and other dissenters in a case involving reproductive choice, as ‘an unconscionable act of judicial activism.'”

“The Fifth Circuit, which has the highest percentage of minority residents of any federal circuit, requires a jurist who will be supportive of civil rights, women’s rights, and other important constitutional issues,” concluded Henderson. “Based on her record, Priscilla Owen would not be such a voice on the Fifth Circuit and we commend the Senate for stopping her confirmation.”