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The Owen Nomination: Liberals Don't Let Truth Stand In Their Way ^ | July 18, 2002 | John Nowacki

Posted on 07/18/2002 7:44:31 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen

Longtime court of appeals nominee Priscilla Owen will finally get a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday. And the usual liberal interest groups are determined to make it the worst afternoon of her life.

President Bush nominated the Texas Supreme Court Justice to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on May 9th of last year (2001!!) - 435 days ago. She is up for a seat on the same court to which Judge Charles Pickering was nominated, and like Pickering, her opponents have been using half-truths and outright lies to misrepresent her character and her record.

That record is one any nominee would be proud of. Owen received a unanimous "Well Qualified" rating from the American Bar Association, the highest possible from a source that Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy calls "the gold standard by which judicial candidates are judged."

She has the support of fifteen past presidents of the Texas Bar, not to mention that of both home state Senators and numerous colleagues, past and present. She was also reelected to the state Supreme Court by an overwhelming margin two years ago, managing to win the endorsement of every major Texas newspaper in the process.

In other words, she's the right person for the job. She has the qualifications. She has the temperament. She has the experience. And her record as a judge shows an understanding of the difference between jurist and legislator, something important to Americans who view activist decisions like the Pledge of Allegiance ruling with alarm.

But it's that last point that's giving the liberals fits. They and their supporters on the Judiciary Committee have made it clear that what really matters is whether a nominee holds the right political beliefs, and nominees who believe judges should leave their personal views at the courthouse door are fair game.

They've gone after Owen on two fronts: parental notification and business generally. Their problem is that a glance at her record on either issue shows just how baseless those attacks really are.

The parental notification issue is fairly straightforward. Texas, in line with Supreme Court precedent, passed a law requiring girls to notify their parents before getting an abortion. Following Supreme Court guidelines, the state created a judicial bypass procedure, where a girl who didn't want to tell her parents could receive an exemption if she met a legal standard. As the Texas legislators envisioned it, the bypass would be the exception rather than the rule.

Owen and her fellow justices had to review several requests for a bypass after the statute went into effect, usually after lower courts said no. None of the girls met the legal standard, and the cases were initially sent back to the lower courts with instructions to review it in light of certain aspects of the statute. Was the girl making a reasoned decision? Was this in the girl's best interest? Would she suffer "emotional abuse" if she
notified her parents? And so on.

As you'd expect, the justices disagreed at times about how to apply the statute or what exactly an appellate court should do. But throughout, Justice Owen applied the law and precedent.

Not that you'd know that from what her critics are saying. They frequently use the second bypass case as an example, claiming that Owen didn't follow what the statute said. The liberals fault her for writing in a concurrence that the court ought to consider whether the abortion was in the girl's best interest as well as whether the notification is not.

But what they carefully avoid mentioning is that she followed a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that set that standard for statutes using the same wording as the relevant part of the Texas law -- a ruling that was handed down before Texas passed its statute using that language.

And though the liberals would like to make this an issue about abortion per se, it's not. It's about girls notifying their parents before they get one, and most people would agree -- as the elected representatives of the people of Texas did -- that notification should generally be the rule. Regardless of a Senator's views on the abortion issue itself, Owen's deference to the legislature and a higher court should count in her favor.

The other line of attack, a sort of vague business related accusation, is just that: vague. It's also nonsense.

Texas has a system in which judges are elected in partisan elections. They're allowed to campaign - in fact, they have to if they want the job -- and they are both legally and ethically allowed to accept contributions. That's the way Texans want it.

Owen, though, has been an outspoken advocate for reform. She doesn't believe there should be partisan elections, she wants reform of the contribution system, and she even voluntarily pledged to limit campaign contributions during her first campaign. Even one of her critics, Texans for Public Justice, has acknowledged that when it comes to what she actually does, she is in the mainstream of Texas contribution laws.

But since when have facts ever stood in the way of these groups when they're after a nominee? In spite of Owen's efforts for reform, they've insinuated that there's something wrong with the way she judges cases, and they put a lot of blame her acceptance of contributions, all while never actually accusing her of anything.

Again, it's Justice Owen's tangible record that puts the lie to the vague insinuations. Looking at how she and her colleagues actually ruled - not to mention a glance at the facts of the cases - shows once again that Owen ruled impartially regardless of who was before her.

Even so, these left-wing groups - the pro-abortion organizations, People for the American Way, Alliance for Justice, and all the small fish they've brought in from Texas - think they've got a chance to defeat Owen's nomination in committee. Whether they're right depends on how willing Senators are to actually do their homework.

Not every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee is completely wedded to the litmus test; some are willing to think for themselves instead of merely parroting whatever the outside liberal groups tell them to say. Those Senators are the ones who need to hear from supporters of judicial restraint, asking them merely to look for themselves at Priscilla Owen's record.

Owen may have a difficult time with some people at her hearing on Tuesday. But the facts are on her side, and if they take a moment to examine them, more than a few Senators will be, too.

(John Nowacki is Director of Legal Policy at the Free Congress Foundation.)

Free Congress Foundation

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 07/18/2002 7:44:31 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
She'll sail thru with a cursory questioning by the libs.
It's a WOMAN nominee not a white male conservative, therefore, they wouldn't dare expose themselves to the public at large of their doubl'e standard.

Unlike Pickering, bush will no doubt fight for this one.
They are all phoneys regardless of their labels.
2 posted on 07/18/2002 8:29:32 AM PDT by poet
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To: poet
She'll sail thru with a cursory questioning by the libs.She is a woman.

Yeah, just like Clarence Thomas did because he is Black. These Senators do what they are told to do, and the radical leftists and feminazis do not like Judge Owens. The liberal lackeys in the Senate will comply with their instructions and go after her.

3 posted on 07/18/2002 1:40:32 PM PDT by San Jacinto
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To: Stand Watch Listen; Dales; Coop; Miss Marple
This is the issue that will ignite the Base!!!!I'm so angry I could drive to DC just to punch Leahy in the nose!!!
4 posted on 07/18/2002 1:46:48 PM PDT by CPT Clay
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To: CPT Clay
This is the issue that will ignite the Base!!!!
How so very true. Yet, many threads on this subject are ignored by this forum. Seems the frivilous subjects get the 'newbies' attention nowadays
5 posted on 07/18/2002 2:23:01 PM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: San Jacinto
You may be correct. Only time will tell.
6 posted on 07/18/2002 7:21:07 PM PDT by poet
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To: CPT Clay

Why should it?

The rest of his nominees aren't a big deal I guess.

I don't see anyone fighting for them. Daschle continues his patented foot dragging and "aw shucks" while we just grin at him.

7 posted on 07/18/2002 7:38:22 PM PDT by Jhoffa_
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Thank you for compiling this outstanding list. Please keep up the fight!

Here is an email I received from Jay Alan Sekulow:

It is sprinkled with opportunities to donate to this cause if you so wish.

We find ourselves in the middle of a judicial crisis and any day now the Senate Judiciary Committee will take a critical vote ... ... and if Planned Parenthood, National Organization for Women (N.O.W.), the ACLU and others get their way, YOUR rights will be at risk!

I'm talking about the confirmation of judicial nominee Justice Priscilla Owen - and I need your help today to fight for FAIRNESS and JUSTICE!

Click here to donate online.

The Old Testament says that a judge is to have only one focus: "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue" (Deut. 16:20 NASB).

Texas Supreme Court Justice Owen, one of President Bush's judicial nominees, meets that standard.

Well-qualified to enforce the laws and protect the U.S. Constitution as a federal judge, she is a judge of good character and has a SOLID COMMITMENT to constitutional freedoms and the sanctity of life.

She deserves a fair chance before the Senate Judiciary Committee when they vote on her nomination in upcoming days.

But the pro-abortion lobby has zeroed in on Justice Owen's pro-life stance ... and they are determined to UNDERMINE her credibility - and ultimately, deny her confirmation to the federal bench!

In his Annual Report to Congress, Chief Justice Rehnquist urged the Senate to confirm more of the President's nominees. Senators, he said, "ought to act with reasonable promptness to vote each nominee up or down."

Yet Democratic leaders in the Senate - including the chairman of the Judiciary Committee - have BRAZENLY announced their intent to STONEWALL confirmation of President Bush's nominees ... ... if those nominees do not adhere to left-wing, pro-abortion ideology!


The Constitution is very clear:

The President is to appoint judges who will INTERPRET the law - and President Bush has fulfilled his responsibility by providing a list of nominees, like Justice Owen, who are committed to upholding the Constitution - not legislating from the bench.

Yet some in the Senate are REFUSING to do their constitutional duty.

The American Center stands firmly behind Owen and the President's other nominees for federal judgeships. And I HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US!

Click here to donate online.

We MUST have judges on the bench who don't MAKE the law, but who INTERPRET the law so that your freedoms are protected.

The need for judges who uphold the rule of law and the Constitution is more evident than ever after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's shocking ruling against the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase "under God" included.


- but I will need your help every step of the way. Please share a generous online gift right now using our secure website!

Click here to donate online.

Your contribution today will help us to:
1. Continue reviewing nominations and informing the Senators of the nominees' qualifications.
2. Inform Senators of the constitutional and legal procedures necessary to ensure the constitutional process is followed.
3. And alert the nation via mail, radio, and Internet of the pro-abortion lobby's SMEAR campaign against nominees like Owen.

Your partnership today is critical. We expect a Senate vote on Owen at any time ... plus, this battle over federal judgeships is only a prelude to the fight we will face when the President nominates a new Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States.

So please make your voice heard right now through your generous gift!

Click here to donate online.

Thank you - and may God bless you for the way you stand for freedom and justice!

8 posted on 07/19/2002 10:20:31 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Contact these RAT Senators on the Judicial Committee:

Edward M. Kennedy...RAT, MASSACHUSETTS
Joseph R. Biden, Jr....RAT, DELAWARE
Herbert Kohl...RAT, WISCONSIN
Dianne Feinstein...RAT, CALIFORNIA
Russell D. Feingold...RAT, WISCONSIN
Charles E. Schumer...RAT, NEW YORK
Richard J. Durbin...RAT, ILLINOIS
Maria Cantwell...RAT, WASHINGTON

Contact these Senators now!

9 posted on 07/23/2002 5:01:17 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation
Thanks for the info and the links...appreciate it.
10 posted on 07/24/2002 6:29:17 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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