Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Can we please end the lie about what Alberto Gonzales supposedly said about Priscilla Owen? Please?

Last night while watching NBC News I heard, I believe it was Brian Williams, repeat the Planned Parenthood talking point that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said one of Priscilla Owen's opinions was an "unconscionable act of judicial activism."

Here's what Gonzales had to say about the quote in question:

My comment about an act of judicial activism was not focused at Judge Owen or Judge Hecht; it was actually focused at me. What I was saying in that opinion was that, given my interpretation of what the legislature intended, by the way the words that they used in terms of having a minor not totally informed or well informed but sufficiently well informed and the structure of the act, it was in my judgment that the legislature did intend the judicial bypasses to be real. And given my conclusion about what the legislature intended, it would have been an act of judicial activism not to have granted the bypass in that particular case. If someone like Judge Owen in that case reached a different conclusion about what the legislature intended, it would have been perfectly reasonable for her to reach a different outcome. But as to the words that have been used as a sword against Judge Owen, let me just say that those words were related to me in terms of my interpretation of what the legislature intended, again, through the words of the statute and the way that the judicial bypass procedure would actually operate in practice.”

And here's what he says about Owen's nomination:

"I served with Judge Owen on the Texas Supreme Court. And I think she did a splendid job, a superb job as a judge. I think she would make a superb job on the Fifth Circuit, and that's why her name was recommended to the president."

The fact that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Teddy Kennedy, and the other usual suspects are still using something that was denied more than a month ago shows how little they truly have on Owen. They never link to the actual opinion of Gonzales or provide context in which he wrote what he did. I wonder why? Well, here's Gonzales' concurring opinion.

In the opinion Gonzales writes, "Only in this, an appeal after remand of the first of four Jane Doe cases, has the Court granted a minor's application to bypass notifying her parents before she consents to an abortion. (1) Yet in each case, the Court has struggled to render the correct decision, and some members of the Court have strongly disagreed. The tenor of the opinions have been unmistakably contentious. It has been suggested that the Court's decisions are motivated by personal ideology. See ___ S.W.3d ___ (Hecht, J., dissenting). To the contrary, every member of this Court agrees that the duty of a judge is to follow the law as written by the Legislature. (2) This case is no different. The Court's decision is based on the language of the Parental Notification Act as written by the Legislature and on established rules of construction. Any suggestion that something else is going on is simply wrong."

Judge Hecht, another dissenter, basically claimed the Court's opinion was an act of activism and Gonzales is replying to that accusation by writing that his opinion was based on his intrepretation of the law not on his personal opinions.

Here's the sentence of the quote in question:

"Thus, to construe the Parental Notification Act so narrowly as to eliminate bypasses, or to create hurdles that simply are not to be found in the words of the statute, would be an unconscionable act of judicial activism."

Did Owen want to eliminate bypasses or create hurdles that weren't there? Absolutlely not. Priscilla Owen's opinion says nothing of the sort. She dissented "from the methods employed by the Court in rendering that judgment. The Court summarily reversed the lower courts, without an opinion and without the opportunity for considered, substantive deliberations."

Owen goes on to explain how this case was the girl's second trip to the Texas Supreme Court in order to get an abortion without notifying her parents. Owen explains, "On the first appeal, the Court did not find any error in the trial court's judgment denying her application or in the court of appeals' judgment affirming that denial. However, the Court remanded this matter to the trial court for further consideration in the interest of justice."

She continues, "After the case was remanded, the trial court held a second hearing and again denied the application. The court of appeals again affirmed. The transcript of the trial court's second hearing was received by this Court during the evening on Wednesday, March 8, and other parts of the record were received on Thursday, March 9. The Court, by a vote of five to four, saw fit to render judgment in this case on Friday, March 10, summarily reversing the decisions of the two lower courts."

She points out the Texas Supreme Court ruled very quickly to overturn the rulings of the lower courts without an opinion and without "considered, substantive deliberations."

I really can't see how anyone who has read Owen's dissent and Gonzales' concurring opinion could honestly think that his words were meant for her.

You can also read the dissenting opinions and the opinion of the court under June 22.

Even though I know how bad mainstream media is, I am still at times completely dumbfounded by how either lazy and/or unethical they are. It seems that it is just so much easier for them to repeat liberal talking points instead of actually do 15 minutes worth of research.

HT: The Corner

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