Goodwin Liu's controversial judicial nomination approved by Senate committee
By Perry Bacon Jr.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a controversial Obama nominee for a key appeals court post, but only after Republicans sharply attacked him and sought to liken him to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
Goodwin Liu, a professor of law at the University of California Berkeley, won confirmation on a 12-7 party-line vote in the committee after weeks of delay on the vote by Senate Republicans, who have blasted him more than any other Obama judicial nominee. His nomination will now head to the whole Senate, although a formal vote has not yet been scheduled.
Liu, unlike Kagan and many other judicial Obama nominees, has a long record of writings espousing liberal positions, such as strongly criticizing the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito and endorsing gay marriage and affirmative action. But the GOP attempted to link Liu to Kagan, who is on Capitol Hill today meeting with senators and has so far drawn only muted criticism from Republicans.
Like Kagan, Liu has no previous judicial experience and has spent much of his career in academic posts.
"The president has chosen another academic who has focused on policy the majority of her career to sit on the highest court of the land," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, referring to Kagan. "As a former academic himself, the president tends to prefer an academic approach to the law.... He prefers a results-oriented approach to the law."
Senator Orrin Hatch, who also opposed the nomination, called Liu "the most controversial nominee of President Obama."
Democrats defended Liu by touting his personal story as child of immigrants who didn't speak English until he started kindergarten but later won a Rhodes Scholarship and earned degrees from Stanford and Yale. And they noted past conservative judges, such as Seventh Circuit appeals court judge Richard Posner, had histories of controversial writings before being put on the federal bench.
Perry Bacon Jr.
May 13, 2010; 11:59 AM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing , Cast of Characters , Court Watch
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