Janice Rogers Brown
Janice Rogers Brown, described as an "archconservative justice on the California Supreme Court," was nominated on July 25, 2003, by President George Walker Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Her nomination was confirmed on June 8, 2005 by a Senate with a Republican majority involving the Gang of 14.
According to the official Associate Justice Janice Rogers Brown, California Supreme Court Biography, 
- Since May 2, 1996, Janice Brown has been an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. From November 4, 1994, she was an Associate Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. From January 7, 1991, to November 1994, Ms. Brown served as Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor Pete Wilson. The job included diverse duties, ranging from analysis of administration policy, court decisions, and pending legislation to advice on clemency and extradition questions. The Legal Affairs Office monitored all significant state litigation and had general responsibility for supervising departmental counsel and acting as legal liaison between the Governor's office and executive departments.
- Prior to joining Governor Wilson's senior staff, Brown was an associate at Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, a government and political law firm.
- Before joining the firm in January 1990, Brown served for two and a half years as Deputy Secretary and General Counsel for the state's Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, working primarily with business regulatory departments. Brown came to BT&H after eight years (1979-1987) in the Attorney General's Office, where she worked in both the criminal and civil divisions.
- From 1977 to 1979, Brown worked for the Legislative Counsel.
Web page includes a photo of Janice Rogers Brown.
2012 Cigarette Warning Labels
On August 24, 2012, Brown ruled that cigarette companies do not need to show graphic warning labels on packages. "The court's majority found the label requirement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration violated corporate speech requirements." Brown's opinion included: "This case raises novel questions about the scope of the government's authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate commercial disclosures and undermine its own economic interest -- in this case, by making 'every single pack of cigarettes in the country mini billboard' for the government's anti-smoking message."
- Justice Janice Rogers Brown -- "Out of the Mainstream, Again," The New York Times Op-Ed, October 25, 2003:
- Of the many unworthy judicial nominees President Bush has put forward, Janice Rogers Brown is among the very worst. As an archconservative justice on the California Supreme Court, she has declared war on the mainstream legal values that most Americans hold dear. And she has let ideology be her guide in deciding cases. At her confirmation hearing this week, Justice Brown only ratified her critics' worst fears. Both Republican and Democratic senators should oppose her confirmation.
- Justice Brown, who has been nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has made it clear in her public pronouncements how extreme her views are. She has attacked the New Deal, which gave us U.S. Social Security and other programs now central to American life, as "the triumph of our socialist revolution." And she has praised the infamous Lochner line of cases, in which the Supreme Court, from 1905 to 1937, struck down worker health and safety laws as infringing on the rights of business.
- Justice Brown's record as a judge is also cause for alarm. She regularly stakes out extreme positions, often dissenting alone. In one case, her court ordered a rental car company to stop its supervisor from calling Hispanic employees by racial epithets. Justice Brown dissented, arguing that doing so violated the company's free speech rights.
- Last year, her court upheld a $10,000 award for emotional distress to a black woman who had been refused an apartment because of her race. Justice Brown, the sole dissenter, argued that the agency involved had no power to award the damages.
- In an important civil rights case, the chief justice of her court criticized Justice Brown for "presenting an unfair and inaccurate caricature" of affirmative action. The American Bar Association, all but a rubber stamp for the administration's nominees, has given Justice Brown a mediocre rating of qualified/not qualified, which means a majority of the evaluation committee found her qualified, a minority found her not qualified, and no one found her well qualified.
- The Bush administration has packaged Justice Brown, an African-American born in segregated Alabama, as an American success story. The 39-member Congressional Black Caucus, however, has come out against her confirmation.
- President Bush, who promised as a candidate to be a "uniter, not a divider," has selected the most divisive judicial nominees in modern times. The Senate should help the president keep his campaign promise by insisting on a more unifying alternative than Justice Brown.
More Opposition to Nomination
- "Janice Rogers Brown is the far right's dream judge," said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. "She embodies Clarence Thomas's ideological extremism and Antonin Scalia's abrasiveness and right-wing activism. Giving her a powerful seat on the DC Circuit Court would be a disaster."
- "Janice Rogers Brown has a record of hostility to fundamental civil and constitutional rights principles, and she is committed to using her power as a judge to twist the law in ways that undermine those principles, said Hilary Shelton, director, NAACP Washington Bureau. "For the administration to bring forward a nominee with this record and hope to get some kind of credit because she is the first African American woman nominated to the DC Circuit is one more sign of the administration's political cynicism."
- The report released today, 'Loose Cannon,' notes that when Brown was nominated to the state supreme court in 1996, she was found unqualified by the state bar evaluation committee, based not only on her relative inexperience but also because she was "prone to inserting conservative political views into her appellate opinions" and based on complaints that she was "insensitive to established precedent."
- The report carefully examines Brown's record since she joined the court, especially her numerous dissenting opinions concerning civil and constitutional rights. Brown's many disturbing dissents, often not joined by a single other justice, make it clear that she would use the power of an appeals court seat to try to erect significant barriers for victims of discrimination to seek justice in the courts, and to push an agenda that would undermine privacy, equal protection under the law, environmental protection, and much more.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Report on the Nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit (36-page pdf), Alliance for Justice. Also seeAlliance for Justice web site.
- Judicial Appointments Nomination Memo: Janice Rogers Brown, Concerned Women for America, October 22, 2003.
- Latest Judicial Nominee Raises Concerns on Privacy Rights. NARAL Pro-Choice America Challenges President Bush to Issue 16-Word Statement in Support of Right to Privacy, NARAL, June 30, 2003.
- Mike McKee, Democratic Filibuster May Await Janice Rogers Brown, The Recorder, October 23, 2003.
- Byron York, Democrats Attack -- Again!, National Review, October 23, 2003.