Priscilla Owen Filibuster Ends 81-18

After four years of stalling tactics, the Senate voted by an overwhelming 81-18 to end debate on Priscilla Owen, virtually assuring she will be confirmed to the 5th Circuit.

Senate Votes to End Filibuster on Judge (AP)

The Senate voted Tuesday to end years of delaying tactics that blocked the nomination of Priscilla Owen to a federal judgeship, the first fruit of a bipartisan agreement to break the logjam over President Bush’s judicial choices.

The vote was 81-18 with opponents of the Texas Supreme Court justice falling well short of the 60 needed to continue their filibuster. A vote to confirm Owen could come as early as Tuesday.

Owen, nominated to a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has been blocked four times by Democratic filibusters in the four years since Bush first nominated her early in his first term.


James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael A says:

    I would like to think that the deal has already been broken due to the failure of Senator Inouye to vote for cloture of debate on Owen as required in Part I, Paragraph A of the memorandum.

  2. Sam says:

    The AP got it backwards on the vote: opponents needed only 40 votes to defeat cloture and continue debate.

  3. Sam says:

    Correction, cloture needs 60 votes right? Hence opponents needed 41 votes to continue debate.

  4. wavemaker says:

    The deal is unenforceable anyway, but if it were enforceable, a breach would have to be material — as long as the cloture vote succeeded, Inouye’s absence would not be not material.

  5. McGehee says:

    Unless Inouye was a signatory, he couldn’t break the deal anyway.

  6. McGehee says:

    (Back from catching up on details) Ah. Inouye is a signatory. Still, it shouldn’t be any surprise that the Republicans who signed this thing wouldn’t have the backbone to enforce its provisions.