Judicial Nominees: One Step Closer to Catastrophe
The U.S. Senate Judiciary committee, on a straight party-line vote, agreed to send two controversial appellate court nominees to the
Senate floor for a confirmation vote: Janice Rogers Brown for U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Priscilla Owen for the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
This vote was no routine matter. In fact, by this simple action of approving two judges who were filibustered in the prior administration,
the Republicans signaled the launch of their "nuclear option" plan.
Any pretense of bipartisanship was jettisoned by this divisive action. Not satisfied with a more than 95 percent confirmation rate, Senate
Republicans made it clear that they will only be satisfied with a complete takeover of the judiciary. The concepts of "advice and consent"
and "checks and balances" are viewed as nothing more than roadblocks to complete domination of all three branches of the
Take action by signing NOW's petition supporting the filibuster.
The National Organization for Women is not pleased to oppose the elevation of two women to the highest courts of the land. Key to our mission is achieving parity for women in all seats of decision-making power, in government and out. However, there is a good
reason why we are the National Organization for Women and not the National Organization of Women. Our primary focus, above all else, is
to work to achieve equality and justice for women. Unfortunately, these two women, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, have embraced
with zeal judicial philosophies that do not respect women's rights, consumer rights, environmental rights or minority rights.
In her two previous hearings before the Judiciary Committee, Priscilla Owen defended her activist and extremist record as a justice on
the Texas Supreme Court. Her punitive views about the abortion rights of young women compelled even U.S. Attorney General Alberto
Gonzalez, who sat with her on the Texas Supreme Court, to call her attempt to rewrite the state's parental notification laws as "an
unconscionable act of judicial activism."
Owen is notable for her support of corporate interests at the expense of consumers. Her record show that she sides time after time
with corporate interests. She routinely rules against workers. Also, having received donations to her judicial campaign from Enron, she
showed bias toward their interests when they appeared before her.
Janice Rogers Brown
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, regarded as the second highest court of the land, is not the place for judicial
extremists like Janice Rogers Brown. Brown's judicial record is replete with controversial decisions in the area of women's rights,
consumer rights, disability rights and employee rights. Her speeches demonstrate an ultra-conservative ideological view regarding
employment and property rights as well as a clear hostility for the protection of fundamental constitutional rights. The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution pronounced her as "far out of the mainstream of accepted legal principles" and "not qualified for the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit."
NOW opposes both these nominees because of their steadfast opposition to the principles of justice and equality. Despite their gender,
these two state Supreme Court Justices have revealed their hostility to employment rights and the reproductive rights of women, throughout
their records of judicial opinions. Senate Democrats were right to filibuster these two nominees when they were first nominated. Yet
George W. Bush thumbed his nose at the justifiable opposition to these nominees when he re-nominated them, knowing that he was throwing
down the gauntlet.
The die has been cast. Very soon, perhaps as early as next week, the battle to preserve the essential right of the Senate to advise
and consent to judicial nominees will begin. The nominations will move to the floor and the filibusters will begin again. It remains to
be seen whether the Republicans really will play procedural roulette and risk the destruction of the operations of the Senate and its
traditional comity, in order to cement their grab for absolute power.
Take action by signing NOW's petition
opposing the "nuclear option."