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As any Washington, D.C., insider will tell you, this is not the best time to be an elected official with connections to the sinking Enron Corp. Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen is finding that out. Owen is entering the political fray as she seeks confirmation to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She can expect a thorough audit of her background during a congressional nomination hearing, including questions about an opinion she wrote in 1996 that favored the controversial energy trading company. The spotlight likely won’t be pleasant, as 5th Circuit nominee Charles Pickering recently discovered when he was targeted for his civil rights rulings.

Among the first of President George W. Bush’s federal appellate bench nominees named on May 9, 2001, Owen has not received a hearing date from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee must vote to confirm Owen’s nomination, followed by a confirmation vote by the full Senate, for her to take the federal appellate bench.

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