Senate Votes to Stop Filibuster on Priscilla Owen Nomination

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Votes to Stop Filibuster on Priscilla Owen Nomination Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 24, 2005

Washington, DC ( — With a deal in place to end filibusters on a handful of President Bush’s pro-life judicial picks, the Senate voted Tuesday to stop debate on a nominee to a federal appeals court and move forward. The vote will allow a confirmation vote on Priscilla Owen’s nomination to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Senate voted 81-18 to invoke cloture, ending debate and allowing a vote. Opponents of the Texas Supreme Court judge, who has consistently upheld a pro-life parental notification law on abortion, failed to get the 60 votes needed to prevent a confirmation vote.

Owen was nominated four years ago to the appeals court position and the Senate blocked a vote on her confirmation four times with filibusters.

"It is time to close our debate," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, in comments leading up to the cloture vote.

The Senate did not immediately vote on Owen’s nomination, but may do so Wednesday.

Though the deal prevents votes on all of his nominees, President Bush indicated he was happy the Senate was moving forward on at least some of his picks.

"It’s about time," Bush exclaimed. "I’m pleased that the Senate is moving forward on my judicial nominees who were previously being blocked. These nominees have waited years for an up-or-down on the Senate floor, and now they’ll get one."

Though Owen likely has enough votes to be confirmed, abortion advocates are still pressing for calls to the Senate to defeat her nomination.

"Now, we need an even more intense effort to block the nomination," the pro-abortion group NARAL said in an email to members. The group said Owen "has repeatedly ruled to restrict the right to choose as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court."

However, the abortion advocacy group will have a hard time finding enough votes to defeat Owen.

"[W]e need pro-choice Republican senators to join the pro-choice Democrats in opposing these far-right nominee," the group admitted.