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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 5, 2002
President Calls Senate Judiciary Committee Action "Shameful"
Statement by the President
The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted to deny the American people the service of an outstanding individual with a record of accomplishment and a brilliant legal mind. The Committee has voted down Justice Priscilla Owen, my nominee to serve as a Judge on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and is preventing the full Senate from voting on her nomination.
I know Justice Owen well. She is an outstanding judge and a woman of integrity who has received outspoken bipartisan support. Based on her distinguished service with the Texas Supreme Court for seven years, the American Bar Association unanimously rated her, "well qualified," the highest rating the organization can bestow upon a nominee. She is known to be a fair and impartial judge who strives to interpret the law fairly.
What the Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have done to Justice Owen is shameful, even by Washington standards. They have distorted her record and misconstrued her opinions. They have determined that a nominee's experience, academic credentials, and character are inconsequential.
Justice Owen's nomination should be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote. If the full Senate were to vote on her nomination today, I am confident she would be confirmed. The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee know this, and therefore, voted to prevent it.
As I have said before, today's vote is about more than one woman, or one seat on an individual court. The Committee's action today continues its pattern of obstruction at a time when there are too many vacancies in our federal courts, a problem that the Chief Justice of the United States has called "alarming." Today's action by this small group of Democrat Senators is wrong. It has harmed a good person, harmed our courts, and harmed the American people.