• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Vote Against Goodwin Liu a Victory for the Rule of Law

    In one of the most important votes on Obama’s lower court judicial nominees, Democrats were unable to overcome the filibuster of Ninth Circuit Court nominee Goodwin Liu in a vote in the U.S. Senate this afternoon.

    It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster under the Senate rules, and the final vote was only 52 in favor of cutting off debate, 43 opposed, one senator voting “present” (Sen. Orrin Hatch), and four not voting.  Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska crossed party lines to oppose Liu, making it the first successful bipartisan filibuster since Abe Fortas.  (Lisa Murkowski, the former Republican from Alaska who ran as an independent in her reelection bid last November, joined with Democrats in voting in favor of Liu.)

    Liu is one the most radical and unqualified judicial nominee in decades.  His views are so extreme, that even Republican members of the “Gang of 14,” who in 2005 said they would not filibuster judicial nominees except in “extraordinary circumstances,” voted to support a filibuster of Liu.  This included Lindsey Graham and John McCain, and even the two Republican senators from Maine — Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — who are considered by many to be the two most moderate Republicans in the Senate.

    Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued his own extraordinary statement prior to the vote, stating that 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 threaten the American tradition of limited constitutional government.”

    Grassley’s reference to Liu’s “brief” career is right.  Liu had no courtroom experience and has spent almost his entire career at the Berkeley School of Law in California.  He had dismissed a textual reading of the Constitution, saying that the judicial function properly seeks “an awareness of the evolving norms and social understandings of our country” and that a judge should act “as a culturally situated interpreter of social meaning.”  Liu believes there is a constitutional right to welfare and that “societal discrimination” should be solved by imposing racial quotas in education, employment and contracting.

    There simply is no question that, based on his record, he would have been a liberal activist judge who would have done untold damage to the Constitution and the rule of law if he had been confirmed to lifetime tenure on the federal bench.  In fact, hard as it is to imagine, Liu would have pulled the Ninth Circuit to the left, despite the fact that it is already the most liberal (and out of control) court of appeals in the nation – almost 90 percent of its cases are overturned by the Supreme Court on appeal.

    Today’s vote is a victory for everyone who believes that we are, and should remain, a nation of laws and not men.  It is also an important result because if he had been confirmed, there is no doubt that Liu’s radical views would have made him an attractive candidate for consideration by President Obama if another vacancy were to occur on the Supreme Court.  And finally, the vote sends an important signal to the White House that conservatives will not unilaterally disarm on the filibuster when the President nominates individuals who would do serious damage to the Constitution and the rule of law.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Vote Against Goodwin Liu a Victory for the Rule of Law

    1. Holmes, Beyond the G says:

      I see, this must be why his nomination was supported by the likes of New Left throwbacks such as Kenneth Starr and John Yoo.

    2. chris says:

      Finally republicans are showing some back bone when dealing with the Obama administration. Obama is trying to change our country in a direction we do not want to go. Hopefully we can get our country going in the right direction by voting him out of office in 2012.

    3. albo, mt says:

      Liu is the dressed-up lackey of the liberal establishment at both Berkeley and Stanford. This is his background, and no one who knows him would dispute this.

      Fortunately, and unlike Obama's recent Supreme Court nominees, Liu at least had somewhat of an audit trail on this views so we could see where he stood. That's much more "transparency" than we still today have on Obama himself.

    4. Jan - Chicago area says:

      This is a great moment! We can't let the rule of law and our Constitution be trampled on by these activist "judges." I hope this encourages those of us who respect our country's Constitution to never give up. And I hope this sends a strong message to those who want to re-invent the USA. Nope. We love the America that our Founders created for us!

    5. Bobbie says:

      Heard alot more ugly things on this disrespect of personal human life, Lui.

      This just isn't what I pictured America to become when growing up!? I just didn't think ANYONE would take advantage of America then use that advantage against her and Americans rich and poor, respectful of her principles!?

      It's every person that stereo types the "white man" as EVERY white man TO BE GUILTED for the actions of the past white man and beyond control of the present white man? As if any country outside America treated any man any better!

      It's not just anti American Liu. it's ALL in society and government who participate in this terribly disrespecting, intolerant, uncontrolling, influential, hatefull, social mindset. For all America does, just for them to mess her up and guilt her for more because of their own self-instilled inferiority that NO WHITE MAN OR ANY MAN BUT HIMSELVES CAN FIX!

      What a terrible display Lui and the like minded are, of America for one but humanity in the 21st century… was never a thought to witness Americans show such sensitivities and indoctrinate them into as many minds as possible and proud to expose them to the world as if any people in the world are sympathetic. What a disgrace to America and of them. People with government hold themselves back instead of rising above something that no longer exists.

      America needs strong, respectful leadership without bias, not people who dwell in the psst and work to steal from the present because of their chosen determined refusal to overcome what white man did to any other man. America was once beautiful with the strength of her people of all skin colors and will be again.

      Thank you for all who voted to respect personal dignity and our ability to sustain. The rule of law is important to exemplify. It takes proper leadership, a "change" in what's surrounding us today.

    6. joecool, westbrook says:

      Thank you real Americans! We must stand should to shoulder against this socialist agenda.

    7. Laura says:

      Best news of the day! We cheered that the sane people in Washington are holding the line. Now, if they could bring people to justice who have been twisting the rules for their own gain.

    8. Slick in Nebraska says:

      Don't slap each other on the back too much, gang. All this means is that the President will make an out-of-session appointment, and Mr. Liu will be a member of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals! And just so you don't forget, this President does not care whether he is supposed to do it, he does not care if it is legal . . . if he wants to do it, he will because, after all, WHO is going to stop him? The DOJ???

      The only good thing about such an event, if it should happen, is that the appointment is NOT to the Supreme Court!

    9. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      I would hope that this is the first step to raising the bar for requirements, rather then lowering the bar for Judicial nominees. We weaken our Freedoms when we allow these "Activist" Judges to be nominated.

    10. john walker says:

      We do not need a radical on the 9th Circuit Court our freedoms are already in danger.

    11. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      I suppose we who love liberty and the Constitution should be thankful that Liu left a paper trail. What about the other judges recently confirmed by this Senate just since they came back from Easter recess as well as all the others Obama nominated? Have they been "keeping their powder dry" for district and federal court appointments and possibly the Supreme Court? There are plenty more radical law professors where Lui came from who are lying low just waiting for that lifetime appointment to social engineering.

    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.

    ×