Texas Women

Keeping you in the know about issues affecting Texas women.


Owen Confirmed

Priscilla Owen was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 56-43, with both of our Texas Senators voting to confirm her. With Owen's record of "unconscionable judicial activism", it is a sad day indeed to read about her confirmation. You can click here to read a full article on the subject.

However, as sad and angry as this confirmation makes me, I'm even more annoyed by our Texas Senators' response to the nuclear compromise. Particularly disheartening was Senator Hutchison's statement that "I think it's a very dangerous precedent to make an agreement outside your leader's wishes." I want to ask the Senator if she is there to represent her constituents or if she is there to support her party leadership? And if her answer is yes to the latter, I want to beg her to reconsider her decision to be a public official. The citizens of Texas elected her to represent us and if there are times our needs don't fall in line with Republican Party goals than she should remember to act for us. And, in those instances, she just might have to "make an agreement outside [her] leader's wishes." You can go here for information on our Senators' response to the nuclear compromise.


Don't All Texas Women Deserve Protection from Employment Discrimination?

Apparently that is not the opinion of the Texas AG. In a five-year old case two women are suing the Texas Tech University School of Pharmacy for discriminating against them in promotions. One of the women (Elaine King Miller) also claims that she was fired after being diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition.

This case is now going before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but not because of the allegations of the complainants. What is up for debate instead is whether or not King Miller should even be able to sue the school under the federal disability discrimination law. It is a case of a state's sovereign immunity- guaranteed by the 11th amendment to the US Constution- versus federal discrimination law. And the outcome of this case will have a large impact on the enforcement of discrimination law in all states. For more details on the suit and the arguments being made by the Texas AG, go here.

Not only do these two women have to fight to prove the merits of their case, but they also have to fight for the right to be heard in a state that denies its responsibility in protecting citizens from discrimination. They have already had to wait five years to get their day in court and, if things continue as is, they will probably have to wait longer still.

Nuclear Compromise

Last night fourteen Democratic and Republican senators broke with their party leadership and announced a compromise that avoids the "nuclear option." In this compromise, the Democratic senators agreed to votes on some of Bush's judicial nominees while preserving the filibuster for "extraordinary circumstances." The votes that the Democrats agreed to are for Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William H. Pryor. Yet does it really avoid the "nuclear option" or just postpone it? And who decides what constitutes "extraordinary circumstances?" For more details on this compromise go here.

Now, while they may deserve some credit for finding a "middle" ground, I am so not pleased with the agreement to not filibuster Owen. Priscilla Owen has a record of judicial activism in favor of corporations and against consumers and individual rights and even her current and former colleagues, including current AG Alberto Gonzales, have criticized her efforts to rewrite the law from the bench to impose her won beliefs. And to top it all off she's been nominated to the Fifth Circuit. So we end up with an opponent to individual rights making decisions that affect the lives of Texas women!


Constitutional Discrimination

I was so hopeful last week. It seemed as if there were enough senators who were willing to stand on the side of the just and oppose the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. But, alas, there was no such luck. On Saturday, the Senate passed HJR 6 with a vote of 21-8. For more information check out this link.

Now, on November 8, 2005, it will fall to the citizens of our great state to say "NO" to making discrimination a part of our constitution. Start now by talking to your friends. Tell them that there are hundreds of legal rights, responsibilities, and obligations that marriage provides to a couple, not least among them the right to visit your loved one in the hospital. Our constitution should be about guaranteeing equality before the law, not creating discrimination.