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View Full Version : Obama Handed First Judicial Confirmation Defeat in Goodwin Liu



PoliCon
05-19-2011, 05:55 PM
by Audrey Hudson
05/19/2011

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.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=43618

Arroyo_Doble
05-20-2011, 09:24 AM
So much for "up or down vote," eh?

PoliCon
05-20-2011, 12:43 PM
So much for "up or down vote," eh?

And did you complain when it was done by the democrats?

Arroyo_Doble
05-20-2011, 12:45 PM
And did you complain when it was done by the democrats?

Nope. And I am not "complaining" about it now. Just noting an inconsistency in the Republican position concerning the filibuster and judicial nominations.

I fully support the Senate making it's own rules and consider the filibuster an important tool for the minority to ensure they are part of the legislative process including advise and consent.

PoliCon
05-20-2011, 01:04 PM
Nope. And I am not "complaining" about it now. Just noting an inconsistency in the Republican position concerning the filibuster and judicial nominations.

I fully support the Senate making it's own rules and consider the filibuster an important tool for the minority to ensure they are part of the legislative process including advise and consent.

In other words - you have an issue with the filibuster when republicans do it but was fine with it when the dems did it.

Arroyo_Doble
05-20-2011, 01:05 PM
In other words - you have an issue with the filibuster when republicans do it but was fine with it when the dems did it.

I don't think you read what I wrote.

No, I do not have an issue with the filibuster.

Constitutionally Speaking
05-20-2011, 02:22 PM
I don't think you read what I wrote.

No, I do not have an issue with the filibuster.


We are only following the precedent they set.

PoliCon
05-20-2011, 02:28 PM
We are only following the precedent they set.

Exactly. When they pulled this - there was no precedent and now there is. Oh and ONE compared to how many was it again under Bush? There were a dozen or so they block via filibuster under bush right? Blocked despite Bipartisan support for their appointments.

ETA - The senate filibustered 28 Bush judicial appointments - in 5 of those cases the filibuster was over come - leaving 23 judges blocked via filibuster by the dems.

Arroyo_Doble
05-20-2011, 03:23 PM
We are only following the precedent they set.

Possible.

I think a more likely explanation is that Republicans no longer oppose the filibuster of judicial nominees now that they are in the minority. They should probably thank McCain and a few others for preventing the so-called "Constitutional" Option while they were in the majority.

Arroyo_Doble
05-20-2011, 03:28 PM
Look, we won’t always be on the majority. I say to my conservative friends, some day there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth. I don’t know if it’s a hundred years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?

~ John McCain explaining why he would not vote for the so-called Nuclear Option

And the far right hated him for it.

Odysseus
05-20-2011, 05:00 PM
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.
Actually, he'll treat it like a dead roll of soft, absorbent paper wrapped around a cardboard tube.


Look, we won’t always be on the majority. I say to my conservative friends, some day there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth. I don’t know if it’s a hundred years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?

~ John McCain explaining why he would not vote for the so-called Nuclear Option
And the far right hated him for it.

At the time, the use of the filibuster was unprecedented in votes on judicial appointments. The rule was always that a sitting president got his way unless the judge in question was seriously deficient or the senators who represented the state that the judge came from put a hold on the nomination. But, that was a relatively rare event. With the advent of "Borking", the process became far more politically fractious and the conduct of the Democrats in particular has led the way in this.

Arroyo_Doble
05-20-2011, 05:21 PM
At the time, the use of the filibuster was unprecedented in votes on judicial appointments. The rule was always that a sitting president got his way unless the judge in question was seriously deficient or the senators who represented the state that the judge came from put a hold on the nomination. But, that was a relatively rare event. With the advent of "Borking", the process became far more politically fractious and the conduct of the Democrats in particular has led the way in this.

Another possibility, I suppose. Always something to be considered, the "he did it too" argument to rationalize bad behaviour.

I think I will stick with my explanation for now.

Odysseus
05-20-2011, 10:01 PM
Another possibility, I suppose. Always something to be considered, the "he did it too" argument to rationalize bad behaviour.

I think I will stick with my explanation for now.

More of a, "Well, if that's how you want to play it, fine" argument. It's not something that the Republicans would have come up with, as they aren't as naturally partisan as the Democrats.

PoliCon
05-20-2011, 10:05 PM
More of a, "Well, if that's how you want to play it, fine" argument. It's not something that the Republicans would have come up with, as they aren't as naturally partisan as the Democrats.

And doing it ONCE hardly compares to the 28 times the dems did it. :rolleyes:

Novaheart
05-20-2011, 10:16 PM
And doing it ONCE hardly compares to the 28 times the dems did it. :rolleyes:

All of which is irrelevant. The only thing which matters is keeping bad judges with good connections from being seated. This time, the result was correct. I'd have to look at each of the bush nominees individually to comment on them. But given that Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the USSC we cannot assume that his nominations were all turned down out of petty politics.