- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Democrats surrendered their filibuster yesterday against California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who was nominated to the federal bench nearly two years ago.

Yesterday’s 65-32 vote to end debate paves the way for a final vote today on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Ten Democrats — including six who switched their positions from an earlier vote to filibuster Justice Brown — joined all Republicans to allow her nomination to proceed to final consideration.

The successful vote is the second filibuster to fall since last month’s deal to end some of the leadership-led filibusters. Two weeks ago, the Senate confirmed former Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, four years after she was nominated.

Although the Owen nomination was approved with votes to spare, Democrats hope that opposition to Justice Brown will be stiffer and that she might lose a final confirmation vote, scheduled for 5 p.m. today.

“If there was ever a nominee whose views are different than yours, it is Janice Rogers Brown,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, told Republicans. “She is so far out of the mainstream that she makes [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia look like a liberal.”

Defenders dismissed such charges, pointing out that Justice Brown was recently retained on the California Supreme Court in a popular vote, with 76 percent support from the state’s voters. They also noted that Justice Brown tied for second — behind only the court’s chief judge — for writing the most majority opinions on the California high court.

Justice Brown, who is black and grew up the daughter of sharecroppers in segregated Alabama, has roiled the passions of several black organizations.

The conservative Congress on Racial Equality is running TV ads in support of Justice Brown and notes that she is the first black woman to serve on the California Supreme Court.

“We want every senator to know that we will be watching their vote this week on the nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown,” said CORE national spokesman Niger Innis.

“This highly qualified African-American woman, the daughter of an Alabama sharecropper, has received appalling treatment by a group of hypocrites in the Senate, who always claim to support equal opportunity, yet refused to allow her nomination to even see the light of day.”

Other black organizations that traditionally applaud appointments of blacks to high government posts denounced Justice Brown.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People oppose her nomination. Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat and the chamber’s only black member, voted yesterday against giving Justice Brown a final vote.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and a member of the CBC, said Mr. Bush “hasn’t fooled us” by nominating Justice Brown. “She’s cut from the same cloth as [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence Thomas.”

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