portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

corporate dominance | government | police / legal

The Exxon/Mobil seat on the Fifth Circuit

Who has Bush picked to be the poster child for the campaign to eliminate all minority influence on the selection of high court nominations -- why, who but Priscilla Owen, currently a Texas Supreme Court justice? -- that's right, the "try and fry" state of Texas.

There has been a good deal of coverage of Owen's anti-choice stance but her pro-business leanings may be more to the point. In 2003, the Austin-American Statesman declared that Owen could "usually be counted upon in any important case that pitted an individual or group of individuals against business interests to side with business."

Austin-American Statesman: Owen has a questionable ethical tendency to take "campaign contributions from law firms and corporations ... and then, without recusing herself, [rule] in their favor when their cases came before her." Owen's rulings are considered so business-friendly and tainted that a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association once quipped, "In my more cynical moments, I suggest that, just as sports stadiums are now named after corporations, judicial seats are soon to follow. In that vein, I believe that Justice Owen could well fill the Exxon/Mobil or Wal-Mart seat on the Fifth Circuit."

Yeah, here we go: the "Exxon/Mobil seat" on the Fifth Circuit. Personally, I hope the Dems stop this, but I doubt that they will be able to.
I dunno if this is "progress" or just barely trying to hold our own against fascism, but here's what you can find on Owen at AmericanProgressAction.org --

In his videotaped statement for Justice Sunday, Senate Majority leader Bill Frist "singled out Judge Priscilla Owen, one of the blocked appeals court nominees, for praise in the telecast." Many believe that Frist's specific mention of Owen suggests "she may become the contested nominee at the focus of the looming showdown." For all the conservative talk against judicial activism, Frist and other conservatives should know that Owen has a long record of extremist decisions; her own hometown paper described her as "all too willing to bend the law to fit her views, rather than the reverse." In fact, in reference to one of Owen's dissents, then colleague and fellow Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales went so far as to describe the decision's proposed interpretation of the law as "an unconscionable act of judicial activism." Indeed, in critiquing her nomination, The Houston Chronicle took issue not with her being "too conservative" but with the fact that "she too often contorts rulings to conform to her particular conservative outlook." As the San Antonio Express stated, "The senate should not block a judicial nominee simply because he or she is more conservative or more liberal than the Senate's majority party.... But concerns about Owen go to the heart of what makes a good judge."


 http://www.americanprogressaction.org/site/pp.asp?c=klLWJcP7H&b=616769#1