Judicial Nominations Become Political Sport Thanks To Goodwin Liu

Goodwin Liu

If you were hoping for some finger-pointing and spitballing in the judicial nominee races, send your thank you notes to Goodwin Liu.

The Berkeley Law School professor and 9th circuit nominee has strong stances that were expected to raise conservative and liberal eyebrows, which was pointed out from the moment the rumors of his nomination landed in the news.

Liu testified in opposition to Justice Alito’s confirmation in 2006, criticising his stance on capital punishment, but supports school choice. He is a board member of the American Constitution Society, an activist conservative organisation, but helped launch AmeriCorps during his time working in the President Clinton’s Department of Education.

The Executive Director of Committee for Justice, a conservative organisation created to promote constitutionalist judicial appointments, Curt Levey predicted Liu’s nod, “will be the most high profile confirmation fight that we have seen under Obama” since Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.

Cue the dramatic soundtrack.

As Tony Mauro points out in The Blog of Legal Times, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions criticised Liu on TV and ex-Bush Justice Department official Ed Whelan is going crazy on the National Review’s Bench Memos blog (highlight: “the ABA committee has somehow seen fit to give Liu its highest rating of ‘well qualified.’  What a joke.”)

Countering the opposition, Berkeley 3L, Liu student and blogger upstart Jonathan Singer has started confirmgoodwin.com to collect and centralize all Liu’s flattering press.

A Washington Times editorial called Liu a radical, which Media Matters labelled a “Witch Hunt” in its rebuttal.

But wait! Things may only get better. “The debate could heat up further with the release of Liu’s answers to a Senate questionnaire, now posted (PDF) online,” writes Mauro.

Let the games begin.

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