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Senate Republicans voted on a mostly party line to block the leftist Berkeley professor from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Obama Handed First Judicial Confirmation Defeat in Goodwin Liu

Senate Republicans voted on a mostly party line to block the leftist Berkeley professor from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Senate Republicans handed President Obama a significant defeat on Thursday in a filibuster vote that effectively blocks leftist Berkeley law Prof. Goodwin Liu from sitting on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Democrats failed to end the filibuster, which requires 60 votes, mostly along party lines of 52 to 43.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican to support Liu and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the only Democrat to oppose him.

“Clearly the Constitution would take a backseat in his courtroom,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.)

“This is precisely the kind of judge we want to prevent from getting into the courtroom,” McConnell said.  “His philosophy might be popular on left-wing campuses, but it has no business in a courtroom.”

Calling him an activist judge who is likely to treat the Constitution as a living, breathing document, Republicans said prior to the vote that they also opposed Liu based on his controversial criticisms of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito during their confirmation process.

“Judge Alito’s record envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse, where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man … this is not the America we know.  Nor is it the America we aspire to be,” Liu said.

In 2005, Liu criticized Roberts in a Bloomberg News article for belonging to the Republican National Lawyers Association and the National Legal Center for the Public Interest.  Liu called the groups’ missions of free enterprise, private property ownership and limited government “code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace and consumer protections.”

“Give me a break,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.).  “That language was unnecessarily called for.”

Added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.):  “These words were designed to destroy, and they ring of an ideologue.  He should run for office, not be sitting on the court.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) called Liu’s comments “vicious” and “disgraceful.”

“He is a serious threat to the rule of law and principles that make this nation great,” Cornyn said.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I.-Conn. ) defended Liu’s comments, saying they had the “ring of a passionate litigator,” but later said he regretted them.  Lieberman, along with other Democrats, made the case for Liu by focusing on his personal life—a story they called quintessentially American.

Liu’s parents emigrated from Taiwan to Sacramento.  Although he has no experience as a judge or even a practicing lawyer, Liu clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader.

“He is a star in everything he has ever done,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.).  “If he doesn’t get his, it’s about politics,” Boxer said.  “It says more about the people in this place than it does about Goodwin.”

If Liu had been confirmed, he would have become the first Asian-American to serve on the appeals bench, said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee.  “He would bring much-needed diversity to the federal bench,” Leahy said.

Democrats weren’t as enthusiastic about confirming minorities to the bench during the previous Bush administration.  The nomination of Miguel Estrada, who emigrated from Honduras, languished for two years under Democrat control of the Senate, and he eventually withdrew his name for consideration to an appellate court.

Written By

Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events??? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey???s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co

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