By Dave Andrusko
Last week when Senate Democrats fell eight votes short of invoking cloture (ending debate) on the nomination of Goodwin Liu, it was only a matter of time before the 40-year-old Berkeley law professor would ask President Obama to withdraw his nomination. And that’s what he did, in a letter sent yesterday.
National Right to Life had urged senators to vote against cloture on Liu’s nomination to sit on the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (I’ve reproduced our statement below.)
NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson pointed out that “Liu is strongly committed to judicial activism and to an expansive judge-made ‘right’ to abortion.” Johnson also highlighted the importance NARAL Pro-Choice America had placed on Liu’s confirmation. NARAL conducted an extended lobbying campaign on behalf of Liu, calling him a “champion of the constitutional right to privacy,” and claimed after the vote to have generated 20,000 messages to senators in support of Liu’s nomination.
Pro-abortion Democrats are forever demanding that Republican Presidents send up “consensus” candidates, a description of Liu that even pro-abortion Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) rejected. In a floor statement, Webb said he would vote for cloture but against Liu.
“When I met with Mr. Liu, I found him to be personable and clearly bright, but intellect in and of itself does not always give a person wisdom, nor does it guarantee good judgment, and the root word of judgment is of course, judge. This is our duty today–to decide whether Mr. Liu’s almost complete lack of practical legal experience, coupled with his history of intemperate, politically charged statements, allow us a measure of comfort and predictability as to whether he would be fair and balanced while sitting on one of the highest courts in the land. Mr. Liu’s temperament and his frequently strident political views have been called into question by many well-intentioned observers.”
One of many examples would be when Chief Justice John Roberts was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. As Johnson explained, “Liu published an opinion piece in which he specifically attacked Roberts as a threat to ‘abortion rights.’”
In a July 22, 2005, column for Bloomberg, Liu began with what is proving to be heavily ironic, coming from a man whose own nomination created a firestorm.
“Despite his mild manner and Midwestern charm, the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court is a seismic event that threatens to deepen the nation’s red-blue divide,” Liu wrote. “Instead of choosing a consensus candidate to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, President George W. Bush has opted for a conservative thoroughbred who, if confirmed, will likely swing the court sharply to the right on many critical issues.”
Liu’s judicial activism was apparent to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear. As we wrote last year
At one forum he told a sympathetic audience, “You know I paid the $9.95 for my high-speed Internet access to the hotel and went on The Federalist Society website last night. Now The Federalist Society will tell you that one of its core principles is that the job of judges is to say what the law is and not what is should be.
“Do not believe it.”
PRO-ABORTION JUDICIAL NOMINEE GOODWIN LIU BLOCKED IN SENATE ON NEAR PARTY-LINE VOTE
WASHINGTON (May 19, 2011) — The nomination of Goodwin Liu, named by President Obama to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, was blocked in the U.S. Senate today on a near party-line vote.
Only 52 senators voted to “invoke cloture” (end debate) on the Liu [pronounced “loo”]nomination. That was 8 votes short of the 60 that were required to advance the nomination to an up-or-down vote.
Of the 44 Republican senators who were present to vote, only one — Lisa Murkowski (Ak.) — voted in favor of advancing the Liu nomination. Of the 52 Democrats who were present, only one — Ben Nelson (Ne.) — voted to block Liu. The official roll call is here.
Liu, age 40, is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He has never served as a judge, but he has written and testified extensively on legal issues.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) had urged pro-life senators to oppose cloture on Liu’s nomination.
“Liu is strongly committed to judicial activism and to an expansive judge-made ‘right’ to abortion,” commented NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “Indeed, when John Roberts was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, Liu published an opinion piece in which he specifically attacked Roberts as a threat to ‘abortion rights.’”
NARAL Pro-Choice America conducted an extended lobbying campaign on behalf of Liu, calling him a “champion of the constitutional right to privacy.” In a press release issued after the vote, NARAL claimed to have generated 20,000 messages to senators in support of Liu’s nomination.
Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who has written extensively and critically regarding Liu’s record, wrote on National Review Online on May 17, “Liu presents a volatile mix of aggressive left-wing ideology and raw inexperience. He’s the rare nominee who would threaten to make the Ninth Circuit worse than it already is.”
Following today’s Senate vote, Whelan noted that only one potential Liu supporter missed the vote, “so the Liu nomination appears dead.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is one tier under the U.S. Supreme Court in the federal judicial system. It handles appeals from federal district courts in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and some territories.