GOP senators might filibuster Obama’s ‘most controversial judicial nominee’ Update: GOP filibuster successful

posted at 11:06 am on May 19, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The Senate votes today on whether to close debate on the controversial nomination of University of California-Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — and GOP senators have indicated they just might block an Obama judicial nominee for the first time:

Senior Republicans launched an all-out push to quash the nomination, urging their conference colleagues to support a GOP-led filibuster.

“(Liu’s) record reflects a carefully honed and calculated philosophy that he developed and advanced over the course of his brief career in the ivory towers of academia and which threatens the American tradition of limited constitutional government,” Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and senior panel member Jeff Sessions of Alabama, wrote in a letter, obtained by Fox, to their GOP colleagues Wednesday.

In a most ominous sign, former GOP members of the so-called “Gang of 14,” who narrowly averted a judicial crisis back in 2005 that nearly shut down the Senate, are lining up against Liu, as well.

That’s a good thing — because, as at least one reporter has suggested, Liu just might be President Obama’s ‘most controversial judicial nominee’ — and that’s saying something, given the president’s many questionable nominations.

Consider judicial nominee Jack McConnell, now a federal district court judge in Rhode Island, who donated $700,000 to Democrats in the two decades before President Obama tapped him for his current position. Or, even better, Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, who, as we found out yesterday, might have helped to craft a legal defense of Obamacare, yet likely won’t recuse herself from the case against its constitutionality when it comes before the Court.

But Liu just might outdo the whole slew.

For starters, Liu does not even meet the standard for federal judgeships outlined by the American Bar Association, which requires substantial courtroom and trial experience and at least 12 years practicing law. Liu has no experience as a trial lawyer. He hadn’t even been out of law school for 12 years when he was nominated.

Ed Whelan of The Ethics and Public Policy Center corroborates:

Liu’s woeful inexperience compounds his deficiencies of judicial philosophy. He is only 39, and he has even less experience than his age might suggest. He has been a member of the bar for less than eleven years, and he practiced law for less than two years. Under a neutral application of the ABA’s rules — i.e., “a prospective nominee to the federal bench ordinarily should have at least twelve years’ experience in the practice of law,” and “substantial courtroom and trial experience as a lawyer or trial judge is important” — Liu would presumptively receive a “not qualified” rating and be very fortunate to eke out a “qualified.” But somehow the ABA’s process was jiggered to give Liu the ridiculous rating of “well qualified.”

Liu has very little experience, but he definitely has an opinion as to the role of the courts. Here’s Liu himself, in his book ironically titled Keeping Faith with the Constitution:

What we mean by fidelity is that the Constitution should be interpreted in ways that adapt its principles and its text to the challenges and conditions of our society in every succeeding generation.

Or, again, in a paper entitled “Rethinking Constitutional Welfare Rights“:

The problem for courts is to determine, at the moment of decision, whether our collective values on a given issue have converged to a degree that they can be persuasively crystallized and credibly absorbed into legal doctrine. This difficult task requires keen attention to the trajectory of social norms reflected in public policies, institutions and practices, as well as predictive judgment as to how a judicial decision may help forge or frustrate a social consensus.

Seems to me “the problem for courts” is to determine what the law says. If our “collective values on a given issue have converged to a degree that they can be persuasively crystallized and credibly absorbed into legal doctrine,” then the legislature can enshrine those collective values in new law. Until then, judges have no reason to worry about whether “a judicial decision may help forge or frustrate a social consensus.”

But we have reason to worry about Liu, an evidently activist judge, who, according to Whelan, has eventual Supreme Court aspirations. In general, as the “Gang of 14″ established in 2005, senators should filibuster a nominee only in “extraordinary circumstances.” This qualifies. Democrats only need seven Republicans to keep Liu’s nomination alive. Let’s hope that those GOP senators who’ve indicated they’ll filibuster actually do — and that those senators who vote in Liu’s favor will consider what that will say to those of us who think fidelity to the Constitution means … fidelity to the Constitution.

Update: Republicans this afternoon successfully filibustered Liu’s nomination, defeating the motion to end debate. The motion needed 60 votes to pass, but received just 52 votes.

“This nominee was over the line,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said immediately after the vote on a conference call with bloggers. “It wasn’t even close. If I can’t believe a judge will be faithful to the Constitution, I’m not going to vote for him. … I do think [the filibuster] says to [the president] that Congress is not a rubber stamp. Most Republicans are more reluctant than Democrats to filibuster [but] this nominee did not need to be confirmed.”

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What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Time to start fighting the democrats the way they fight us. It’s only fair.

scotash on May 19, 2011 at 3:21 PM

New Hot Air color scheme roll out?

steebo77 on May 19, 2011 at 3:22 PM

New Hot Air color scheme roll out?

steebo77 on May 19, 2011 at 3:22 PM

My eyes hurt.

Del Dolemonte on May 19, 2011 at 3:23 PM

It happened right when I posted at 3:21… I thought maybe I broke the website! :P

scotash on May 19, 2011 at 3:27 PM

“This nominee was over the line,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said immediately after the vote on a conference call with bloggers. “It wasn’t even close. If I can’t believe a judge will be faithful to the Constitution, I’m not going to vote for him. … I do think [the filibuster] says to [the president] that Congress is not a rubber stamp. Most Republicans are more reluctant than Democrats to filibuster [but] this nominee did not need to be confirmed.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejvcd-JeVCQ

HALLELUJAH!!!!

Roy Rogers on May 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM

GO TINA!!!

:)

Roy Rogers on May 19, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Almost unreadable, but very patriotic!

(Red & blue words on a white background, at least on my computer screen at the moment. It burns!…)

cs89 on May 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Yep-The Obama guy was right. That there constitution thingy is a real drag on government – that is by those who wish to make it over and take it over.

Don L on May 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Hatch is such a mealy bug.

Schadenfreude on May 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Almost unreadable, but very patriotic!

(Red & blue words on a white background, at least on my computer screen at the moment. It burns!…)

cs89 on May 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Fixed now.

One of the groups pushing Liu was the Asian-American Justice Center. As Ken Shepard at NewsBusters tells us:

The AAJC’s list of recent friend-of-the-court briefs shows a strong tilt to the left on issues such as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Arizona immigration law as well as affirmative action.

Indeed, the AAJC hoped to convince the Supreme Court to uphold New Haven, Connecticut’s decision to keep white firefighters from a deserved promotion despite having passed their exams in the 2009 Ricci v. DeStefano case :

The Asian American Justice Center filed an amicus curiae with the Supreme Court of the United States in support respondent DeStefano. In Ricci the Court will address the issue whether municipalities may decline to certify results of an exam that would make disproportionately more white applicants eligible for promotion than minority applicants, due to fears that certifying the results would lead to charges of racial discrimination. The AAJC brief argues that Asian Americans are woefully underrepresented in firefighting and other protective service positions, in part due to a history of exclusion from public sector positions, and that Asian Americans benefit when local governments utilize promotion and advancement methodologies that do not have a disparate impact on minorities.

Del Dolemonte on May 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Smirkowski is as ugly as Kloppenburg, from the inside out…

Schadenfreude on May 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

About time the Republican minority used their filibuster.

JimK on May 19, 2011 at 4:27 PM

The motion needed 60 votes to pass, but received just 52 votes.

Anyone got a roll call link of the votes? I noted earlier that McCain, Isakson ad Graham we reported to be supporting the filibuster and I want to know if they followed through on it or voted present. 43 votes to support continued debate seems low if these guys came through on their word … or some others chickens$$ts ran for the hen house.

Dusty on May 19, 2011 at 4:36 PM

[Dusty on May 19, 2011 at 4:36 PM]

Okay, never mind. Elissa Mewcowsky voted for cloture. Hatch voted present. Vitter/Moran/Hutchinson didn’t vote on our side? I don’t know what that means unless didn’t vote at all. That counts for 48, so a Dem voted to continue debate?

Anyway it looks like the three I asked about voted for continued debate.

Dusty on May 19, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Suggestion for the new gal: in important votes, it’s nice to provide a link to the roll call and to summarize the crossover votes.

I lifted this from NRO:

The final vote on cloture was 52 to 43, with one senator (Orrin Hatch of Utah) voting “present” — well short of the 60 votes required to end a filibuster. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) was the only Republican to vote yes, while Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) was the only Democrat to vote no. Senators Bauchus, Hutchison, Moran, and Vitter did not vote.

Pretty important vote. Where were Hutchison and Vitter to show a united front against this POS? What’s with the Hatch vote? And note the Dems from purple and red states who voted yes on a very bizarre nominee. Judicial appointments alone are a reason never to vote for Democratic senatorial candidates.

BuckeyeSam on May 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM

What’s with the Hatch vote?

[BuckeyeSam on May 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM]

Hatch’s position on acquiescing to any President’s nomination, regardless of the nominee’s qualifications and positions is so extreme that Barry could have put up OBL’s name and the best we could get out him is a “Present!”

Dusty on May 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

We dodged a major progressive IED tonight. Good job Stupid Party.

For once you weren’t stupid.

rickyricardo on May 19, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Whew! Thank goodness.

perries on May 19, 2011 at 5:52 PM

“this nominee did not need to be confirmed”

What an odd way to put it. What he needs is to be dismissed from consideration.

disa on May 19, 2011 at 6:03 PM

All blow and no go.

The RINOs will fold.

davidk on May 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I stand corrected. For now.

davidk on May 19, 2011 at 6:39 PM

That’s OK.
They’ll try to push some other nutbag in our face for some position here soon.
Don’t worry.
It’s never over.

Badger40 on May 19, 2011 at 7:02 PM

FINALLY, the Republican caucus actually displayed some backbone.

Webrider on May 19, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Just looking at this socialist dipshit makes me want to go to the Liu.

Jaibones on May 19, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Liu’s views reduce jurisprudence to a game of clever rationalizations, rather than the flow of precedents. Of course, that’s been the predominant approach of courts since the Progressive Movement began to argue that intellectual fads should overrule the values and principles embodied in the Constitution. This in turn is the result when we allow rhetoric to become more important than truth.

Americans are hardly endowed with critical thinking skills. Most of their lessons in logic come from media advertising which is based primarily on sophistries and fallacies.

flataffect on May 20, 2011 at 1:02 AM

Just looking at this socialist dipshit makes me want to go to the Liu.

Jaibones on May 19, 2011 at 7:32 PM

LOL!

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 20, 2011 at 12:16 PM

the lsm is just disgusted that the gop would actually filibuster dear leader’s judge…..

(while all the time praising the dems for doing it during W’s term)

pathetic tools

cmsinaz on May 20, 2011 at 12:37 PM

To all those whiney, crying Democrats in the Senate, I’ve got 2 words to say to you, Miguel Estrada. After filibustering 10 count them, 10 of George Bush’s appeals court nominees, these babies have the gall to cry about this one. If he were a conservative, the bar association wouldn’t have even said he was qualified.

The 9th circus doesn’t need any more activist judges than they already have and the only President to have filibustered a judicial nominee has no right to complain either.

I don’t even consider this payback, payback would be totally lying about what would happen when they got on the court, defaming them and their family, praying for them to be perp walked, but Republicans don’t do that stuff.

bflat879 on May 20, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Lisa Murkowski: traitor.

AshleyTKing on May 20, 2011 at 9:24 PM

How much is 2 Q Liu & 2 Q Liu?

4 Q Liu.

MaiDee on May 21, 2011 at 6:32 AM

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