AUSTIN, Texas – Texas judge Priscilla Owen, the subject of a long and heated confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate, took the oath of office Monday for her new seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Owen, a justice on the Texas Supreme Court for more than a decade, won Senate confirmation to the federal post last month after a four-year fight over President Bush’s push to place conservatives on the nation’s highest courts. She became the first of Bush’s long-blocked nominees to win approval under an agreement reached by centrists in the Senate.
“This has been a long road,” Owen, 50, said after her swearing-in ceremony at the Texas Supreme Court chamber. She used one of Sam Houston’s Bibles to take the oath of office.
“This is bittersweet for me because I’m saying goodbye to some of the finest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” she said.
Owen was first nominated by Bush to the federal appeals court in May 2001. She continued to serve on Texas’ highest civil court while awaiting confirmation.
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