A number of recent profiles of him–such as this one in the Washington Post–have repeated the claim that he called Priscilla Owen a “judicial activist” when they sat on the Texas Supreme Court together. Liberals often made that claim last year as part of their campaign to keep her off the federal bench; some conservatives have made the same claim, in conversation in Washington, as part of their campaign to keep him off the federal bench. It’s not true. As Terry Eastland explained last year, Gonzales was referring to justices other than Owen when he said that following their course would be “an unconscionable act of judicial activism.” Gonzales’s opinion also asserts, somewhat contradictorily, that “every member of this Court agrees that the duty of a judge is to follow the law as written by the Legislature.”
There may be a reason to block Owen or Gonzales from becoming federal judges, but it is not to be found in this quote.