May 23, 2005


Hooray for compulsively checking internet news. The news agencies have just reported on a deal brokered between Frist and Reed over the filibuster debate. Unfortunately, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pyror, and Priscilla R. Owen will be getting floor votes while the fates of nominees William Myers and Henry Saad have been left up in the air. Other agreements reached were Democratic promises to filibuster in the future only in "extreme" cases (whatever that little ambiguity means) in exchange for a Republican promise to not support future attempts to change the filibuster rule.

In particular, I'm disappointed and frustrated that nominee Priscilla Owen was advanced to a floor vote. The freaking Attorney General, a Republican nonetheless, described her dissenting opinion in an abortion case which flouted Roe v. Wade as "an unconscionable act of judicial activism." What the hell, isn't activism what the Republicans were bitching about when Justice Kennedy wrote his opinion against the death penalty for minors? In fact, isn't that the main reason they want more conservatives in the court system, to stop activism? The hypocrisy of it all is mind-boggling. Owen's repellent record backing discrimination and shielding big business only add to my distaste for her. Check out Save Our Courts to find out more about the federal judges of tomorrow.


  1. Anonymous1:28 AM

    I thought Gonzalez's comment wasn't aimed at Owens' dissent, but rather the dissent of the other judges in the case. I believe Owens' dissent merely demurred to the factual determinations of the lower court...

  2. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Also a quick random hypothetical which I am a little curious about - let's assume Rehnquist retires this summer. Are the Dems gonna fight tooth and nail against whoever Bush nominates? Are they going to demand a moderate? It seems to me that the Democrats might be better off waiting until a moderate - like O'Connor - or a liberal - Stevens is the oldest member of the court - stepped down because then they could argue rather correctly that they would meerly want to ensure the continued balance of the court. I would think that arguing for a moderate to replace Rehnquist would be very tough because it would be portrayed as a minority party trying to dictate changes to the makeup of the Supreme Court... Thoughts from the left? (other than the obvious Trisomy-21 comment...)

  3. The Gonzalez comment was definitely directed at Owen. Click here to read about it along with numerous other instances Attorney General Gonzales criticized her while they served on the same bench in Texas.

    Although I can't really speak for Democrats, I would venture that the drive behind agreeing to let these nominees through was to save their political capital for a potential filibuster on a Supreme Court nominee. What actually happens all depends on how conservative a judge the Bush administration nominates. I'm very skeptical that a moderate will get a nomination, even in the event that one retires. I would hope that the Republicans have learned that the Dems aren't just going to sit back and take it from this whole filibuster debacle, but again I'm skeptical. If Bush nominates someone like Justice Owen whose record indicates that he or she will try and set back the clock on sensitive issues like abortion, the death penalty, gays, religion and state, etc...then I would almost certainly guarantee a filibuster.

  4. Anonymous11:45 AM

    See - but does that argument really hold when the Justice would be getting replaced is Rehnquist? Rehnquist is about as conservative as it can get on the issues you mentioned - so wouldn't it make more sense to save the big battle - which will be costly for both sides - for a moderate to liberal replacement?

  5. I see what you're saying, but I don't think at this particular point and time Dems are going to see it this way. If Bush nominates another Scalia to replace Rehnquist, I honestly don't believe the Dems are just going to sit back and say we'll get 'em next time. The judiciary is all the liberals have right now and the Supreme Court is the judicial Holy Grail.

    Maybe if two justices retired at the same time I could see the type of strategy you're describing happen, but I doubt that will happen.

  6. Adam, I believe you are wrong about Gonzales' comments pertaining to Owen. I just wanted to make you aware about my comments regarding the matter .