Chief Judge Priscilla Owen, Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Chief Judge Priscilla Owen

Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Priscilla Richman Owen was born in October 1954 in Palacios Texas. She worked her way through college at the University of Texas at Austin and later at Baylor University where she earned an undergraduate degree. She received a Juris Doctor from Baylor Law School. She joined a private law firm where she was a litigator specializing in oil and gas litigation. Later, she formed her own law firm.

She was elected to the Texas Supreme Court where she served ten years. Owen was nominated by President George W. Bush to fill a vacancy on the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Her nomination was heavily contested by partisans, but ultimately she was confirmed by a 55-45 vote of the Senate, assuming office in June 2005. She became Chief Judge in October 2019.

In the News…

A federal appeals court reversed an earlier ruling by an appellate panel that barred Texas from enforcing a ban on Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood and also reversed a ruling in a separate case preventing Louisiana from doing the same.

Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Priscilla Owen wrote in the majority opinion, “While the statute unambiguously provides that a Medicaid beneficiary has the right to obtain services from the qualified provider of her choice, [the law] does not unambiguously say that a beneficiary may contest or otherwise challenge a determination that the provider of her choice is unqualified.”

The three-judge appellate panel ruled against the ban in 2015, and the decision stood when the full court of 14 judges deadlocked 7-7. Since then, six nominees have joined the court and four of them took part in Monday’s ruling, joining Owen in an 11-member majority opinion.

Planned Parenthood is expected to appeal the ruling, which would take it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Owen today? You can let her know at:

The Honorable Chief Judge Priscilla Owen
Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
903 San Jacinto Blvd.
Austin, TX 78701


Back to top