Four years ago, on May 9, 2001, President Bush announced his first 11 appellate court nominations, including the selection of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. “I urge senators of both parties to rise above the bitterness of the past to provide a fair hearing and a prompt vote to every nominee,” Bush said then. “That should be the case for no matter who lives in this house and no matter who controls the Senate.”
Owen and Terrence Boyle, picked for a seat on the Richmond-based 4th Circuit, are still waiting for Senate confirmation. A third nominee, Miguel Estrada, eventually withdrew his name after Senate Democrats launched an unprecedented filibuster against him in March 2003. Owen was the subject of four failed cloture votes in 2003, the last coming on Nov. 14, 2003.