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Judgment Day
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Priscilla Owen

There is no debating that the latest round of confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee have brought the partisan battle over judges to a new level — with the very real possibility of the end of the filibuster tactic of blocking the nominees movement forward. Recently President Bush went around the Senate approval process and appointed controversial nominee William H. Pryor to an interim place on the bench. But this time the administration and some GOP senators appear prepared to use the "nuclear option" to clear the path for Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown.

You be the judge. Follow links below to review the arguments of the groups who support Brown's nomination, and those who oppose it. To learn more about the national legal system and the judicial nomination process visit NOW's Federal Court System page.


  • Coalition for a Fair Judiciary
    "The colleagues of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen know her to be a common-sense, restrained jurist who strives to follow the law in all cases, defers to the precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and refuses to interfere with the policy choices of the people’s elected representatives in the legislature. Justice Owen....neither reflexively bends the law to benefit the interests of ordinary citizens, nor does she instinctively strain to rule in favor of businesses. Instead, a fair-minded assessment of her eight-year career on the Texas Supreme Court reveals her to be a balanced jurist well within the mainstream of Texas, and American, law."

  • Concerned Women for America
    "President Bush is using the right judicial job description in making nominations, that judges must interpret the law but not make it. Many Senators and their far-left supporters, however, use a very different job description. They want activist judges who will deliver results favoring liberal political interests. As a result, they look only at the tally of winners and losers from a judge’s decisions. The National Abortion Federation has led the attack on Justice Owen’s nomination. Their ideology demands that judges’ decisions favor abortion. Justice Owen, however, takes a balanced, restrained approach that applies the law no matter what the results."

  • Senator Rick Santorum
    "[Owen] has shown time and again that the American Bar Association got it right when it unanimously awarded her its highest possible rating. She was also reelected with 84 percent of the vote in 2000 and had the endorsement of every newspaper in Texas. Owen has earned the support of a clear majority of senators. "

  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
    "Take it from one who served alongside her, Priscilla Owen ranks among the most exceptional jurists in America. Left-wing activists understand this fully — hence their ferocity. But their savagery is inversely proportional to their candor. They seek to impose a glass ceiling on Justice Owen — who has endured two separate confirmation hearings and exhaustive Senate debates — because (1) they ascribe to her, convictions, that they believe are intolerable for women in high office to hold, (2) they view her (rightly) as U.S. Supreme Court material, and (3) she is a personal friend of the president and hails from Texas."


  • Alliance for Justice
    "Justice Owen reliably votes to throw out jury verdicts favoring workers and consumers against corporate interests and dismisses suits brought by workers for job-related injuries, discrimination and unfair employment practices...Justice Owen has taken campaign contributions from law firms and corporations, including Enron and Halliburton, and then, without recusing herself, ruled in their favor when their cases came before her."

  • National Organization for Women
    "Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen was rejected in 2002—but Bush put her nomination forward again in blatant disregard of the Senate's advice and consent role. We've seen Judge Owen use the courtroom to further her narrow beliefs and ideals, going so far as to virtually re-write laws rather than fairly interpret them." The last thing the Fifth Circuit needs is more judges who can't leave their political ideologies at the door."

  • People for the American Way
    "[Owen has] a record of judicial activism in favor of corporations and against consumers and individual rights...Even her current and former colleagues, including current attorney general Alberto Gonzales, have criticized her efforts to rewrite the law from the bench to impose her own beliefs."

  • Senator Charles Schumer
    "If there was ever a judge who would substitute her own views for the law, it is Judge Owen. Her record is a paper trail of case after case where she thinks she knows better than 100 years of legal tradition and clear legislative intent. There is no question that when you look up 'judicial activist' in the dictionary, you see a picture of Priscilla Owen."

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