LCCR’s Henderson Calls Rogers Brown and Owen Unfit Ideological Activists

Media 04.21,05

Washington – Today California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown and Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, two of President Bush’s ten recycled judicial nominees, were voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a party line vote. Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition issued the following statement:

“The president told Americans he would nominate judges to the federal bench who will interpret the law, not make it, yet neither Janice Rogers Brown nor Priscilla Owen meet this basic standard. Rogers Brown and Owen were unfit for lifetime appointments to our federal courts when President Bush first nominated them and they are still unfit today.

Rogers Brown’s record on civil rights and discrimination cases is not just troubling – it is appalling. Her record demonstrates not just hostility, but active antagonism toward victims of discrimination. She has proven time and again that she has little or no respect for established precedent or the law. And most disturbingly, she is entirely unable, or unwilling, to keep her ideological preferences off the bench and outside the court room.

Priscilla Owen is no better. She has been repeatedly chided for trying to rewrite or override the law to suit her ideological vision. President Bush’s own U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, called one of these attempts ‘an unconscionable act of judicial activism.’ Owen isn’t known for fairly interpreting and applying the law, she’s known for rewriting it to fit her worldview.

Like the ten other recycled Bush nominees, Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen don’t deserve lifetime appointments to the federal bench. There are hundreds of more qualified, better suited judges out there – more than 200 of President Bush judicial nominees have been confirmed by bipartisan support – yet the president seems determined to ram through a couple of previously rejected judicial activists.

It is absolutely unconscionable that the president and Senate Republican leaders are prepared destroy our system of checks and balances over a handful of unfit, unqualified judges like Rogers Brown and Owen.”