• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • What Is The Legal Left So Afraid Of?

    Last Friday, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, University of California at Berkeley law school Associate Dean Goodwin Liu, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was not the first time Liu was before this Senate panel. In 2006 Liu testified against Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito claiming Alito’s record was “not the mainstream.” Liu also spoke out against Chief Justice John Roberts nomination in 2005. But now that the Senate was examining his qualifications, Liu offered this spirited defense of his past legal writings:

    Whatever I may have written in the books and the articles would have no bearing on my action as a judge.

    Specifically, Liu was desperately trying to distance himself from his “Keeping Faith with the Constitution” judicial philosophy which calls for the judiciary to apply the Constitution in light of “evolving norms of our society” and a Yale Law Journal article where Liu “envisions the judiciary…as a culturally situated interpreter of social meaning.”

    The complete renunciation of all past legal beliefs appears to be the modus operandi for President Barack Obama’s most controversial judicial nominees. Consider what transpired during Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing:

    Rejecting the Living Constitution: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Sotomayor flat out: “Do you believe the Constitution is a living, breathing, evolving document?” Sotomayor then flatly rejected the views of liberal scholars and jurists: “The Constitution is a document that is immutable to the sense that it’s lasted 200 years. The Constitution has not changed except by amendment. It is a process, an amendment process that is set forth in the document. It doesn’t live other than to be timeless by the expression of what it says.” She later told Sen. Al Franken (D-MN): “[T]he role of the court is never to make the policy. It’s to wait until Congress acts.”

    Rejecting Transnationalist Jurisprudence: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked Sotomayor: “You’ve been fairly critical of Justice Scalia’s criticism of the use of foreign law in making decisions. And I would like for you to cite for me, either in the Constitution or in the oath that you took, outside of the treaties, the authority that you can have to utilize foreign law in deciding cases in the courts of law in this country.” Sotomayor then flatly rejected the views of established transnationalist jurisprudence leaders like Harold Koh: “I have actually agreed with Justice Scalia and Thomas on the point that one has to be very cautious even in using foreign law with respect to the things American law permits you to. And that’s in treaty interpretation or in conflicts of law because it’s a different system of law.”

    Rejecting Obama’s Empathy Standard: Sotomayor even flatly rejected President Obama’s own criteria for selecting Supreme Court nominees, telling Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): “I wouldn’t approach the issue of judging in the way the president does. He has to explain what he meant by judging. I can only explain what I think judges should do, which is judges can’t rely on what’s in their heart. They don’t determine the law. Congress makes the laws.”

    Since President Obama’s most high profile judicial nominees refuse to defend their leftist legal briefs under oath, no wonder liberal law students are so sad. That said, there is no reason to trust the nominees’ confirmation conversionsm, either. In short, they know their pre-confirmation speeches and writings don’t pass muster with the public, but why should we now believe that they didn’t really mean any of what they wrote and said in their pre-nomination careers?

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to What Is The Legal Left So Afraid Of?

    1. Carla Vincent, Illin says:

      Republican Senators must do all they can to block Mr. Liu's confirmation. If one cannot trust Mr. Liu to be honest in explaining the nature of his previous writings and his current deviation from them in his Senate testimony, there is absolutely no reason to trust the veracity of his current statements to uphold the Constitution as written. His previous writings indicate his desire to impose his own self-authorizing spin on the Constitution's need for evolvement to current society. Additionally, he aligns himself with the "take-no prisoners" leftists in our government who have been merciless in the Senate hearings of previous judicial appointees. These attitudes should not be rewarded with confirmation.

    2. Pingback: Gavel Grab » Tuesday Media Summary

    3. Nick, Los Angeles says:

      We don’t believe them. As with all who desire power, they lie to attain it at any cost.

    4. James says:

      I am a Berkeley law student, and just prior to his confirmation hearings Prof. Liu was a guest speaker in Prof. Choper’s Con Law class, where he defended penumbras. He hasn’t converted to judicial restraint. He’s just saying what he thinks he has to say in order to get nominated.

    5. Billie says:

      The legal left is afraid of the amount of citizens finding out the legal truth and seeing truth much more efficient and beneficial then the wasted time and money dealing with deception and trickery of the left.

    6. Dennis Social Circle says:

      The supreme court is only to interpit the constitution, not to make laws as they go along. There are to many times when the opposite has been done. I do not trust the ones that obama has or will nominate for the supreme courty, they all have to have the liberal leaning left at heart to be considered. I do believe thay will say or do anything to get the job, but will go back to the liberal way on the first case.

    7. Les Stewart, South C says:

      There should be a way to remove a supreme court justice if the people feel like he/she is not ruling on cases the way the constitution says. If nothing else there should be a question on the ballot during presidential elections where the voters decide if a justice should be removed after a vote in the senate places the question on the ballot. They should be charged with perjury when they lie before the senate just to get confirmed when everybody including the nominee knows that they are lying.

    8. Pingback: Morning Bell: Former Attorney General Ed Meese on Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    9. Pingback: And The Nomination for SCOTUS Goes Too… Elena Kagan | NetRight Daily

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×