Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, the former Waco resident and Baylor Law School graduate whose nomination was at the center of a narrowly averted Senate showdown over judicial filibusters, was sworn in Monday to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals during a ceremony in Austin.
Owen, 50, who grew up in Waco and received both undergraduate and law degrees from Baylor University, spent nearly 20 years in private practice before winning election to the Texas Supreme Court.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who was one of Owen’s strongest supporters during the bitter four-year battle over confirmation, spoke during the ceremony Monday.
The U.S. Senate voted 56-43 in late May to confirm Owen’s nomination after a group of centrist lawmakers hammered out a behind-the-scenes deal to avoid a showdown over judicial filibusters.
It appeared that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was set to invoke the so-called “nuclear option,” by moving to change Senate rules that now require 60 votes to end debate, but the bipartisan group of 14 centrists reached an agreement that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said pulled the body back from a “precipice.”
(Source: Associated Press)
AGE-BIRTH DATE - 50; Oct. 4, 1954
EDUCATION - B.A., Baylor University, 1975; J.D. , Baylor University School of Law, 1977.
EXPERIENCE - 1978-1994, associate and partner, 1978-1994; justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1995-present
FAMILY - Divorced; no children
QUOTE - "I do not judge cases by what is politically correct. I apply the law, and the law has to be predictable, and it has to be fair, and that's what I do." - testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.