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Let Entire Senate Decide on Judicial Nominees

September 15, 2002

Re "Bush Court Nominee Is Voted Down," Sept. 6:

I was extremely disappointed by the party-line votes cast in the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding nomination of Judge Priscilla Owen to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats repeatedly claimed she was "outside the mainstream" when the facts prove otherwise. Voters elected her to the Texas Supreme Court by an 83% majority and Owen recently received the gold standard seal of approval from the American Bar Assn., the endorsement of 23 major newspapers and the support of Texas' two senators.

The 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee prevented her nomination from moving to the full Senate where duly-elected representatives from throughout the country could cast their vote and weigh in on their beliefs regarding her being "out of the mainstream." Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were apparently afraid the full Senate would fail to agree with their viewpoint.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) commented that her vote was also intended to send a message to the White House regarding the type of candidates Bush should nominate, given his margin of victory in the last election. The Constitution gives the president the authority to nominate whomever he wishes, independent of margin of victory. Confirmation of judicial nominees should be measured by the Senate as a whole, not a select minority of 10 senators. Perhaps it is not Owen who is "out of the mainstream," but rather the 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Thomas R. Damiani

Newport Beach

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