Pro-Life Women Judges Likely Top President Bush’s Supreme Court List

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 12, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Women Judges Likely Top President Bush’s Supreme Court List Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 12, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Now that President Bush has named appeals court Judge John Roberts to replace pro-life Chief Justice William Rehnquist, he must pull another name of out his hat to sit on the Supreme Court. Speculation in Washington is that Bush will name a woman or a minority — or both — to take the seat of outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

To the delight of pro-life advocates, the names of several pro-life women top the list of likely choices.

In a syndicated column on Monday, pro-life columnist Bob Novak reports that Judge Priscilla Owen, a pro-life advocate who sits on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, is Bush’s stop prospect. Novak says Owen had a hush-hush meeting with the president last week.

As a former member of the Texas Supreme Court, Owen pleased pro-life advocates when she ruled against allowing teenagers to use the bypass provision of the state’s parental involvement on abortion law. She said the teens were not mature enough to have the abortions and that the abortions were not in their best interest.

When Bush appointed Owen to the appellate court, she was one of several pro-life nominees that became victims of filibusters by Senate Democrats over abortion. Eventually, a group of 14 Democrats and Republicans struck a compromise to allow votes on the nominees in exchange for not changing Senate rules on stopping filibusters.

The Senate eventually approved Owen on a 55 to 43 vote with abortion advocates opposing her.

Novak writes that appeals court Judge Edith Clement of the 5th Circuit "was the runner-up to Roberts in the first selection process, but the word in legal circles is that she did not do well in her interview with the president and now is out of the picture."

Clement is described as a conservative jurist in the mold of Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia, that Bush favors. However, she does not have a long list of opinions on which abortion advocates could criticize.

Novak says pro-life Judge Edith Jones, also of the 5th Circuit, is another possibility as is Judge Karen Williams of the 4th Circuit, considered one of the most conservative of the women judges.

When the 5th Circuit denied a request last October by Norma McCorvey to approve her motion to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, Judge Jones issued an opinion blasting the Supreme Court’s opinion in Roe and saying it needs to be re-examined.

She called Roe an "exercise of raw judicial power," and cited evidence McCorvey presented showing abortions hurt women. Jones, a Reagan nominee, wrote that the "[Supreme] Court’s rulings have rendered basic abortion policy beyond the power of our legislative bodies."

If Bush chooses to go with a minority who is not a woman, speculation is that Judge Emilio Garza is at the top of the list.

Garza is a federal appeals court judge on the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Garza’s opposition to abortion is beyond question. He wrote two separate opinions explicitly criticizing Roe v. Wade and suggesting it be overturned.