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To arrange a media interview with Ellie Smeal or other spokespersons at Feminist Majority Foundation, contact the FMF media department at 703-522-2214.

 

Date: May-01-03
Contact: Emilie Karrick
Phone: (703) 522-2214
Email:

Feminist Majority Supports Owen Filibuster

WASHINGTON, DC The Feminist Majority commends Senate Democrats for holding strong on a filibuster against Priscilla Owen, President Bushs judicial nominee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Joining together with a broad coalition of womens rights, civil rights, labor rights and environmental groups, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, urged the Senate to continue to hold the line against President Bushs ongoing campaign to stack the courts with right-wing judges.

Its painful to support a filibuster of a womans appointment. But, we have learned that a woman who opposes womens rights in a position of power is often used to justify discrimination, Smeal said. With a record of judicial activism against abortion that is so extreme that even fellow Republican justices on the Texas Supreme Court have commented on it, Owen would ensure that the court of last resort for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas would become a dead end for women.

Currently a justice on the Texas Supreme Court, Owen has been nominated to a position on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which covers the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In an unprecedented move by President Bush, Owen has been nominated for the second time after she was rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee during the last session of Congress for her consistently anti-women's rights and anti-workers' rights rulings.

During her tenure on the Texas Supreme Court, Owen has sought to undermine womens reproductive rights by voting against abortion rights in every abortion-related case. She has attempted to infuse the Texas parental notification law, which allows minors to utilize the judicial bypass provision for abortion, with her own her conservative standards. In one example, Justice Owen proposed that a young woman seeking judicial bypass must show that that she is aware that there are religious arguments that can be brought to bear when considering abortion. This example was characterized by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who served with Owen on the Texas court, as an unconscionable act of judicial activism.

The Feminist Majority is a member of the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary - a group of civil rights, womens rights, disability, Latino, lesbian and gay rights and labor groups that is fighting President Bushs campaign to stack the courts with right-wing judges.

The Feminist Majority is a national, cutting edge, public policy organization dedicated to advancing womens equality. For more information on the Feminist Majority visit www.feminist.org.

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