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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Questions for Senators Byrd and Landrieu



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More than four years ago, on May 9, 2001, President Bush nominated Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Today, both Senator Byrd and Senator Landrieu voted to confirm her nomination. But on four separate occasions in 2003, both Byrd and Landrieu voted in support of the Democrats’ successful filibuster of her nomination.

On what principled basis do Byrd and Landrieu justify having filibustered a nominee whom they now vote to confirm? Why have they contributed to a four-year delay in Owen’s confirmation? Do they take the voters of West Virginia and Louisiana to be fools who can readily be duped into thinking that today’s vote marks Byrd and Landrieu as more responsible than their Democrat colleagues? Will each, in the fashion of John Kerry, boast to have voted for her after voting against her?



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