Priscilla Owens

So much is being said on this topic there’s little I can add. But I can urge you to read this to gain some valuable perspective. Just a taste:

Searcy became a “ventilator-dependent quadriplegic” in 1993 after a car accident where his Ford Motor Co. seatbelt malfunctioned.

His family desperately needed money to properly care for him, and in 1995 a jury determined Ford must pay them $40M.

But Willie never saw a dime, and in turn, never got the quality of health care he needed to stay alive.

After the initial ruling, Ford went to an appellate court, delaying the payout. A year later the award was reduced to $30M.

Then Ford went to the Texas Supreme Court, and Owen was responsible for the case.

Owen, who received $20K in campaign cash from a law firm that represented Ford, slow-walked the case, leaving Willie hanging.

She waited two years to rule, even though both sides requested a expedited hearing.

And her ruling dragged out the case further, calling for a retrial in a different appellate court, even though, as Dubose noted, “venue was not among the issues … the court said it would consider two years earlier…”

Three years later, the second appellate court finally ruled in the family’s favor. Four days after that, Willie died.

Out of all the noble men and women who could serve as high-ranking judges, is this really the very best Bush can find? I think of Brandeis and Blackmun and Fortas and so many others, and I wonder, how on earth did we allow our standards to drop so low? How could we even consider someone so beholden to corporate interests and so insensitive to the victims of corporate greed and maleasance?

Sadly, the answer is only too obvious: because Bush is president. The people count for nothing, the Corporation is all that matters.

Just like Jesus would have wanted it, right?

The Discussion: 11 Comments

I don’t see Abe Fortas as a honorable man. It was such a long time ago, in the early 1960s I think, while I was in law school, when he was appointed to the US Supreme Court and then took a tumble out of the court for his venality.

May 21, 2005 @ 4:50 am | Comment

I think his venality consisted of taking money for speaking engagements, which wasn’t illegal but appeared to be improper. If you look at his track record of sacrifice and decency, I think you’ll see someone far, far different from Priscilla Owens. Maybe he screwed up in a relatively minor way, but he was generally a man of principle and compassion from all I remember.

May 21, 2005 @ 10:21 am | Comment

Be aware that the juvenile troll board known as Pretend Warrior has targeted your site.

May 21, 2005 @ 4:44 pm | Comment

warriorjason wrote:

LOL….ah man what a great site I have found. These liberal fools are easy game over here. The site is called and man are they ultra liberal. They are even pissed at the democrats for being conservative. You don’t even need to sign up to post. It is some libtards blog but the respond pretty quick. Once you start using facts then the go for the usual “racist” reply so popular by ignorant liberals.

May 21, 2005 @ 4:56 pm | Comment

Quit bitching and enjoy us packing the hell out of the courts. Welcome to Republican hegemony! Wear a helmet, girls!

May 21, 2005 @ 5:37 pm | Comment

Boss, thanks for the information. They’re a fun bunch!

May 21, 2005 @ 7:34 pm | Comment

And the can’t even spell “they,” can the?

May 22, 2005 @ 1:55 am | Comment

Oooo… ‘Protest Warriors’. How butch.

I can’t wait till they show up at Jesus’ General’s place. The General will teach them a thing or two about parody.

May 22, 2005 @ 4:24 am | Comment

What a deceptive smear job. Searcy was terribly injured in an automobile accident? That’s sad for him, but doesn’t justify ignoring the law to give him money.

Searcy’s lawyer chose to file the case in the wrong venue. He did so in order to obtain an advantage for his client. In seeking that advantage he took a big risk that the case would have to be retried. He lost that gamble.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Defendant. A majority of the court agreed that venue was improper and the case must be retried in the jurisdiction in which it should have been filed in the first place.

The appellate court was absolutely within its rights to raise the venue issue sua sponte (on its own accord). There is nothing whatsoever improper about it. When I clerked for a US Federal Judge, we decided a number of cases precisely on issues that the parties had failed to raise on appeal. The defendant had a right not to be subject to improper forum shoppping. Texas law provided that the case was filed in the wrong forum, and there is a public interest, beyond that of either party, in preventing venue shopping.

It did not take the Supreme Court “two years” to decide the case. Argument was heard on November 21, 1996. The Court issued its decision on March 19, 1998. That’s less than a year and a half. A long time, but by no means unheard of at the Texas Supreme Court. After the case was remanded it sat on the trial court docket for for another three years! So, if anyone was guilty of delay it was the trial court judge and/or the trial lawyers.

Finally, to accuse Owen and Baker Botts (a leading Texas law firm) of corruption because of a campaign contribution is completely unjustified. Texas judges are elected. Most contributors are lawyers. Many end up with cases coming beofre those same judges. Nothing in the legal or ethical rules proscribes this. Your boy John Edwards gave numerous contributions to judges before whom he later tried cases. Does this make him a crook? If not, please explain the difference.

The bottom line is, Texas law calls for the Texas Supreme Court to remand a case, on its own accord, if the case was filed in the wrong venue. A majority of the Texas Supreme Court reasonably concluded that the Searcy’s lawyer filed the case before the wrong court. Are you honestly arguing that Owen is unfit because she joined with a majority of the court to uphold the law and would be fit had she instead chosen to ignore the law because she was faced with a sympathetic plaintiff?

The bottom line is that Searcy’s lawyer took a gamble by filing the case in a questionable venue where he thought he would otherwise have an advantage. He lost that gamble and that loss cost his client about 2 years of delay. Then, he allowed the case to sit at the trial court on remand FOR ANOTHER THREE YEARS! Now that same lawyer — who is the source of these complaints about Owen’s conduct in this case — is pointing his finger at Owen. Seems to me that must be a lot easier for him than looking in the mirror, where much the real fault appears to lie.

May 23, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Comment

However, one question remains unanswered:

Out of all the noble men and women who could serve as high-ranking judges, is this really the very best Bush can find?

May 23, 2005 @ 11:55 am | Comment

Priscilla Owen Confirmed As Federal Judge

The whackos are winning.

May 25, 2005 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

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